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|Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:26 pm Post subject: The 10 Best Questions to Break the Ice and Practice English
|The following 10 questions will help you start a casual conversation in English and keep it going along an interesting line.
The first five questions will help you get to know people. These are simple questions that require simple answers and that give you information so that you can keep asking.
The last five questions will help you maintain a conversation and discover more about the person’s likes and dislikes.
1. What’s your name?
This is a basic question that can prompt an interesting exchange of information.
After the person answers, you can reply:
- “It’s a pleasure to meet you”
- “Where are you from?”
- “That’s an interesting name. Is it French, Indian, Russian…?”
2. Where do you live?
To keep the conversation going, you can ask:
- “How long have you lived there?”
- “Do you like it there?”
- “Do you live in an apartment or a house?”
3. What do you do?
You can find common ground with other people when you know what they do. After breaking the ice, you can follow with something like this:
- “Which company do you work for?”
- “How long have you had that job?”
- “Do you like your job?”
- “What’s the best/worst thing about your job?”
- “What do you like the most/least about your job?”
4. Are you married?
If the person answers “yes”, other questions to ask are:
- “How long have you been married?”
- “Where did you get married?”
- “What does your wife/husband do?”
- “Do you have children?”
If the answer is “no”, you may ask:
- “Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?”
- “Do you like single life?”
- “Would you like to get married someday?”
5. Where are you from?
It is always interesting to know where other people come from, even more so if they are foreigners. Keep the conversation going by asking:
- “Where is …?”
- “How long did you live there?”
- “What is … like?”
- “Do you like it here?”
6. What do you like to do in your free time?
This is a great question to discover common interests. You can ask:
- “How often do you (eat out in restaurants, play video games, go to the opera, etc.)?”
- “Where do you (eat out in restaurants, play video games, go to the opera, etc.) in town?”
- “Why do you like (eating out, playing video games, going to the opera) so much?”
7. Can you play soccer/ tennis/ basketball/ etc.?”
Ask about any sport you personally like and are a fan of. Keep it going with:
- “Do you enjoy playing soccer/ tennis/ basketball/ etc.?”
- “How long have you played soccer/ tennis/ basketball/ etc.?”
- “Who do you play soccer/ tennis/ basketball/ etc. with?”
- “Would you like to get together sometime to play soccer/ tennis/ basketball/ etc.?”
8. What kinds of films/ food/ vacations do you enjoy?
This topic offers great opportunities to learn new things. Keep asking:
- “What’s the best place to see/ eat/ go on vacation?”
- “What’s your favorite kind of films/ food/ vacation?”
- “How often do you watch films/ eat out/ go on vacation?”
9. What do you do on weekends?
You can find new ways to have fun and even make a new friend. Keep the conversation going along the lines of:
- “Where do you go to …?”
- “Can you recommend a good place to (go shopping/ take my children for a swim/ go dancing)?”
- “How long have you done that?”
10. What kind of music do you like?
Find out more by asking:
- “Where do you go to listen to music?”
- “Do you play a musical instrument?”
- “Have you been to many concerts lately?”
You can use all of these questions in one conversation or use them separately to practice English outside of your ESL class but remember that the most important thing when meeting people is to keep an open mind and enjoy the experience. This is the best way to learn!
If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention our blog as the original source).
Rachel Clarkson is an English teacher at LCI English and blogger at the ESL Blog.
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