Resources teachers: Conversation topics for advanced level learners (2023)


A list of conversation topics suitable for advanced level learners of English.

It's a good idea to pre-teach essential vocabulary before beginning a discussion.
This will help students feel more comfortable and encourage them to participate.

(Video) Intermediate/Advanced Speaking Activities ESL

A CONVERSATION CLUB is a way for students to get speaking practice.


(Video) Tim's top tips for progressing to advanced English - Stop Saying!

  1. Consumerism
  2. Short definition: spending money on things that we don't really need, for example:
    - replacing a perfectly working mobile phone because a new model has come out
    - buying more and more toys for children
    Solicit more examples...
  • What are the positive and negative effects of consumerism?
      Positive effects:
    • increased industrial production
    • more jobs
    • a greater selection of goods to choose from
    • provides more comfort
    • makes us happier
      Negative effects:
    • destruction of our natural resources
    • increased pollution
    • low-quality products (...that have to be replaced more often)
    • lower working standards in countries where goods are manufactured
  • Did previoius generations consume as much?
  • Should people be encouraged to consume less? Why? How?
  • Physical Appearance
    • What is the first thing you notice about a person ?
    • Is it important how people dress ?
    • Is weight/physical well-being/fitness important ?
    • Which is the most important : clothes, shoes, hair, hygiene, fitness, style … ?
    • Does a person’s appearance reveal their personality ?
    • Is it wrong to judge people by their appearance ?
    • Could you be intimidated by someone’s appearance ?
    • What can people do to maintain or improve their appearance?
    • Is it acceptable to tell someone that they need to improve their appearance?
    • How should you dress for a job interview ?
    • On what occasions is it acceptable to dress casually ?
    • Can you think of expressions relating to clothes and/or appearance :
      (e.g. 'off the peg' / 'down at heel' / 'dressed to kill' / 'not a hair out of place' …)
  • Customs and Traditions
    • Have you visited other countries (besides the country where you live now) ?
    • What country/countries have you visited ?
    • Did you discover any customs or traditions that were different from your home country’s customs ?
    • Have you heard of any other strange foreign customs or traditions ?
    • Can you tell us about some of the most important customs of your country?
    • Is it necessary/advisable/recommended to follow other country’s customs ?
    • How do people greet each other in your country ?
    • Do you know of any particular wedding customs in other countries ?
    • What about eating customs ? Are they the same in all countries ?
    • Do you follow all of your country’s traditions and customs?
  • Coronavirus
    • What images come to mind when you hear the word ‘virus’?
    • What do you know about the coronavirus?
    • What does the word ‘outbreak’ make you think of?
    • What is the difference between ‘outbreak’ and ‘pandemic’?
    • What can governments do to stop a pandemic?
    • Could or should governments have reacted differently at the beginning of the outbreak?
    • Do you think the whole world can or should be vaccinated against the coronavirus?
    • Do you think scientists will find a cure for the coronavirus?
    • What questions would you like to ask a virologist?
    • Do you agree with the Japanese authorities’ decision not to allow spectators at the Tokyo Olympic games?
    • Did that decision prevent or limit the spread of the virus?
    • Are rich countries better protected than under-developed countries?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of vaccine passports?
    • Imagine life in the future. In what way will we live differently?
      - Work
      - Education
      - Everyday life (shopping, sports, travel, etc.)
  • Electric cars
    • What do know about electric cars?
    • Have you ever driven an electric car?
    • Are electric cars better for the environment?
    • In what way are they better than petrol cars?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of electric cars?
    • Are they more expensive to buy/to run? Why?
    • How long does it take to charge an electric car?
    • Where can you charge an electric car?
    • Can electric cars travel as far as petrol cars?
    • What country is trying the hardest to encourage people to use electric cars?
    • Are electric cars popular in your country?
    • What needs to be improved to make them more popular?
    • Do you think the number of electric cars will increase in the future?
    • Are car manufacturers really interested in preserving the environment?
  • Rich world, poor world
    • What kind of aid should the governments of rich countries give to poor countries? (money - food - medicine - machinery/equipent - hospitals - schools - training ...)
    • Do you think all citizens should be encouraged to do voluntary service overseas so as to understand the problems of poorer countries?
    • Are poor people poor because they lack opportunities or because they are lazy? What reasons can you think of?
    • Is it right for rich countries to have strict immigration controls?

  • Fake news
    Fake news (fabricated news) is the deliberate spread of misinformation. Sensationalist, dishonest or outright fabricated headlines are often used to increase readership.
    • Do you agree with the above definition?
    • Where do we most often find fake news? (newspapers, social media ...)
    • What sort of fake news can you think of? (politics, show business...)
    • How can we tell if a news story is ‘fake’ or not? (checking sources, dates, photos…)
    • What is the purpose of the misinformation?
    • Is fake news used in election campaigns?
    • Have any countries recently been accused of spreading fake news?
    • Can you think of ways to prevent the circulation of fake news?
  • Violence in the world today
    • When you hear the word "violence", what do you think of?
    • Is the world more violent today?
    • Are there different sorts of violence? (physical / mental /psychological / domestic …)
    • What forms of violence have you noticed?
    • Do people tend to be more violent when they group together? (gangs / mobs / crowds…)
    • In what areas is there an increase in the level of violence? (football, politics, religion, environment …)
    • What are the causes of violence? (jealousy, frustration, unemployment, poverty, conspiracy theories, fake news …)
    • What violent conflicts are going on around the world?
    • Does the repetition of violent images in TV news reports have a positive or negative effect?
    • Does violence ever achieve anything?
    • Is the increase in violence a worldwide phenomenon?
    • What could be done to reduce violence?
  • What would you do if ...?
    • If you were given the opportunity to be born again, what would you change in your life?
    • If you could have dinner with someone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
    • If you always had to tell the truth, what kind of problems would you encounter?
    • If you could live without sleeping, how would you spend your nights?
    • If you were given a choice beween great wisdom or great wealth, which would you choose?
    • If you could live forever on earth, as it is now, would you? Why or why not?
  • Natural disasters
    • What is a natural disaster? (fires, flooding, landslides, earthquakes ...)
    • Has there ever been a natural disaster where you live?
    • Have you ever been in a fire or witnessed one?
    • If you had to leave your home quickly, what would you take with you?
    • What are the worst consequences of a natural disaster?
    • What would you do if you lost all your possessions?
    • Can a person rebuild his/her life after losing everything?
  • Annoying things
    • Do people have habits that annoy you?
    • Do you annoy people with some of your habits?
    • What does 'pet peeve' mean?
    • Do you have a pet peeve?
    • What annoys you when you are driving a car?
    • What are some things that car drivers do that annoy you?
    • Does it annoy you if someone cuts in front of you when you are waiting in line?
    • Does smoking bother you?
    • Does something that your parents or friends do annoy you?
    • Do some people in your office/company do annoying things?
    • Can you think of any celebrities that are annoying? Why?
    • What do people do on public transport or on the street that annoys you?
  • Success-Failure
    • How would you define success?
    • Do you have the same idea of success as your parents?
    • To what extent will your encourage your children to become successful?
    • Do you think failures can contribute to a person's success?
    • Can you think of any famous people who encountered failure before success?
  • Social Networking
    • What is social networking?
    • Can social networking sites be dangerous?
    • What precautions would you advise people to take?
    • Should the use of social networking sites be banned at work?
    • Are social networking sites changing our daily behaviour?
    • Is it possible to become a social networking addict?
  • Diseases
    • What dangerous diseases are people scared of nowadays?
    • Should we be better-informed about the dangers of these diseases?
    • What is the best way to stop diseases from spreading?
    • Do diseases have an effect on travel?
    • Which disease is it urgent to find a cure for?
  • Manners
    • Are good manners important?
    • Do people have better manners today than before?
    • Can you give examples of what you think are good manners?
    • What do you think are bad manners?
    • Can good manners in one country be bad manners in another country?
    • What about table manners? Can you give examples of some good table manners?
    • How about bad table manners?
    • Can manners affect your success in life? How?
    • What's the best way to teach manners to children?
    • What advice about manners would you give a foreigner visiting your country?

  • News coverage in the media today.
    • Do you think news coverage today correctly describes what is going on in the world?
    • Do you trust everything you hear or see on the news?
    • What improvements would you make?
    • What is the most important current news story?
    • Do certain types of events get too much/too little coverage?
    • Do you trust the media? Are you sure the information given is always true?
    • Is it important to keep up with current events?
  • Job interviews
    • Is it necessary to prepare for a job interview?
    • How can a person make a good first impression?
    • Is there a recommended dress code for an interview?
    • Can you think of any difficult questions one should be prepared for?
    • Is there anything a candidate should avoid mentioning?
    • Is it ok to make negative comments about your present employer?
    • Is it ok for interviewers to ask questions about age, marital status, etc.?
    • What information should a candidate have about the company?
  • Environment
    • What are some of the most serious environmental problems today?
    • Can you find ten things that each of us can do to help preserve our planet?
    • What is your opinion on climate change?
    • In what way will our children be affected by climate change?
    • How can we make our homes more environmentally friendly?
    • What can companies do to help preserve the environment?
    • Which countries cause the most pollution?
    • If we run out of oil, where will we get our energy from?
  • Shopping on the internet
    • Do you often do your shopping online?
    • What do you buy online? :
      - food
      - clothes
      - furniture
      - services : airline tickets, theatre reservations, flowers, greeting cards ...
      - other
    • Are the prices the same as in the shops/agencies or less expensive?
    • Have you ever had any disappointments or bad surprises?
    • What are the advantages of shopping online?
    • What are the dangers?
    • What advice would you give future online shoppers?
  • Risk
    • What is your definition of risk?
    • Do you know any risk takers?
    • In your opinion why do people take risks? (pleasure, work, challenge ...)
    • What risks do you come across in your work/life?
    • Are some people obliged to take risks in their jobs?
    • When is a risk stupid or unnecessary?
  • Politicians' personal lives.
    • Does a politician's personal life have an effect on their ability to do their job?
    • Do you think the media pays too much attention to politicians' personal lives?
    • Why do certain types of media give excessive coverage to minor offences?
    • Information concerning personal lives circulates quickly on social networks.
      Is this good or bad?
  • History for future generations.
    • You are asked to select a number of objects to represent life at the beginning of the 21st century.
      The idea is to help future generations better understand how we lived and what major events affected us.
      What objects would your choose and why?
  • Technology
    • What technology would it be difficult to live without today?
    • Has technology changed our everyday lifestyle?
    • What technology, if any, has made our homes more comfortable?
    • Has technology changed education methods?
    • Has technology changed the way we do business?
    • Will online education one day replace the classroom?
  • Travelling has become easier and cheaper. What has it changed in people's lives:
    • speed, comfort, health, family relationships, etc.
    • work/employment
    • holiday habits
    • way of life/standard of living in certain countries.
  • Describe the best or worst trip you ever took:
    • Where did you go?
    • Did you travel alone or with a group?
    • What did you do / what had you intended to do?
    • What made it your best (or worst) trip?
    • What advice would you give someone planning the same sort of trip?
  • Work
    • Do human beings need to work to be happy?
    • What motivates people to work long hours?
    • Can perks (or fringe benefits) compensate for a boring job?
    • What are the advantages/disadvantages of working from home?
    • How do people find a balance between work and personal life?
    • What would make you leave your job?
    • In your opinion, which jobs are most prestigious? Why?
    • In your opinion, what is the worst job in the world?
    • If you could start your own business, what would it be?
  • Is life today better than in the past? Think about the following:
    • Education - employment - job satisfaction
    • Health : prevention, treatment, new discoveries, social security, etc.
    • Comfort : standard of living (housing/transport/leisure)
    • Violence
    • Social issues : single mothers, unmarried couples, homosexuality ...
  • Inventions
    • What invention has had the greatest impact on our lives?
    • Are there some things that never should have been invented?
    • Do some countries encourage inventors more than others?
  • What are the 5 most important decisions in a person's life?
    After making suggestions and defending their ideas, the group retains five of them and decides on the order of importance.
  • It is impossible to have a successful career and a happy family life.
    You have to choose one or the other. Do you agree?
  • Careers today: how to advise young people
    • How important is it to have a good (well-paid/secure) job?
    • What advice would you give a young person today?
    • Would you encourage your children to accept a job in another country?
    • Would you be disappointed if your children
      • left school early?
      • chose a manual job?
  • The internet is an essential communication tool in today's world.
    • The first and most popular use is the email. What others can you think of?
    • Has fraud increased since the arrival of the internet? How?
    • Is the internet sometimes used for other dishonest purposes?
    • What steps would you advise to protect data and privacy?
    • What do you think the internet will be used for in the future?
  • Recent physical achievements (crossing the Atlantic, mountain climbing, etc.).
    • How many can you think of?
    • Which achievement was the most impressive?
    • Are the world's best athletes present at the Olympic Games?
    • What do you think of 'extreme' sports (bungee jumping, tightrope walking...)?
  • The effects of medical and scientific progress:
    • health (prevention, treatment, organ transplants, rare diseases, etc.)
    • beauty (plastic surgery, dental care, etc.)
    • comfort in the home
    • transport
  • Honesty - Truthfulness
    • Is there a difference between honesty and truthfulness?
    • Can you think of occasions when people are sometimes dishonest?
    • What professions are sometimes accused of giving misleading information or half-truths?
    • Is dishonesty ever justifiable?
    • Are there times when it might be better to give partial truth to someone?
  • Politics
    • What do you think is the most important political issue right now?
    • Why do you think there are not more women in politics?
    • What type of information - if any - should a government keep from its citizens?
  • see also:

    (Video) Commonly Confused vocabulary English with Mariam Webster

    Unfinished sentences - advanced

    Conversation Topics - intermediate

    (Video) 10 Speaking Activities for Adults, Advanced English Learners and University Students ESL Classes

    Conversation Topics - beginners

    Conversation Topics - business

    (Video) 10 Best Speaking Activities for ESL Students | For all ages and levels

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