30 Hypothetical Conversation Questions for ESL Students

Here is another set of conversation questions, this some for more advanced students as the questions are hypothetical, so it requires a knowledge of conditionals and a certain level of creativity. I’d recommend it for 16+ (B1, B2, C1). The questions for this activity are used with the kind permission of C.B. Daniels of Conversation Starters World.

As usual it this conversation activity consists of a slideshow for remote teaching and a downloadable PDF for easy printing.

The slideshow can be used as a resource for online teaching: share your screen on Zoom or other app when teaching online. Click on the full screen option in the top right corner of the slideshow and your whole group can discuss or if you want to use the activity in smaller groups, assign your students into breakout rooms and send them the PDF with the conversation questions before your lesson. During the lesson, pop into the breakout rooms to listen in and observe.

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1. If you were a transformer, what vehicle would you turn into?

2. What laws would you abolish if you could? What laws would you create?

3. If extra lives were a thing in the real world, how would you get them?

4. If you were a food, what food would you be?

5. What animal would be way better if it was covered in scales?

6. If you could design a planet, what would your perfect planet look like?

7. What would be your strategy for a zombie apocalypse?

8. If you could be the CEO of any company, what company would you choose?

9. What two animals would you like to switch the sounds they make?

10. Would you want to permanently feel zero pain if given the chance?

11. What cartoon world do you wish you could live in for a week?

12. What do you wish grew on trees?

13. What weird thing would you make socially acceptable if you could?

14. If every time you snapped your fingers, you would instantly be transported to a random point in humanity’s timeline, would you snap your fingers? If so, how often?

15. If you were perpetually surrounded by one aroma (besides your natural smell) which you and everyone around you could smell, what would it be?

16. If you could level up any aspect of yourself (i.e., strength, intelligence, charisma, etc.) but you had to decrease another aspect of yourself by the same amount, what aspects would you increase, and which would you decrease?

17. If humans lost the ability to see all colors except one, which color would you want to survive?

18. If you were a dictator of a small country, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?

19. If you could put wings on any species of animal, what animal would you choose?

20. How would the world be different if zeppelins had caught on and were the dominant form of air travel?

21. Every day 12 things appear in your backyard, they are random, but all start with a letter of your choosing. What letter do you choose?

22. If when you died, you could cease to exist or wander the earth forever, never being able to interact with anything, which would you choose?

23. If you could move anywhere and still have a livable wage, where would you like to move?

24. If you could get a ticket to any show or event, what would you want a ticket to?

25. If you could go back in time and give your parents advice before you were born, what advice would you give them?

26. If everyone was mentally incapable of lying, how would that change the world?

27. If you could be invisible, but it would mean being permanently invisible, would you want to be?

28. If you had to do a dance that had never been done in the history of mankind or be killed, what kind of dance would you do?

29. If you could erase one thing from existence, even the memory of the thing, what would it be?

30. If you were required by law to get a full body tattoo, what would you get tattooed over your entire body?

Other resources to practice speaking:

ESL Vocabulary Activity. Forbidden Words: Health

ESL Vocabulary Activity Based on Taboo: Food

ESL Travel Vocabulary Taboo Cards

12 ESL Negotiation Role-plays: Real-life situations

ESL Speaking Activity: Conversation Cards

Engaging Online Teaching: ESL Activities and Games

Here are a couple of ideas for online teaching ESL activities and games that can be assigned to students so they can work independently as well as used during your video meeting.

1. Artist in your own home

Students have to take 10 photos of anything they consider beautiful. You can even assign a topic, e.g. envirnment, nature, fashion, architecture, food. They can edit it in any program if they want, create a collage, anything. Ideally they create a PDF booklet with the 10 photos and a description of each photo. You can share the best photos/booklets on school website/social media.

2. Scavenger hunt

It’s a shame I haven’t know Flippity until recently, but never mind, better late than never. Flippity is a site which allows you to change Goggle Spreadsheets in to funny little games, including Scavenger Hunt. It’s really easy, you download/make a copy of a chosen template, change the information into whatever you want, save, publish a share the link to your students.

3. Research&Survey

Assign the students a topic which they will have to research online using reliable sources.They will also have to create a survey and collect data on the topic (they could conduct online interviews with classmates, friends, share the survey on social media, etc). After that they will report their findings in the medium of their choice( an article, a report, a presentation, an infographic, a poster, a video, etc.)

4. Create a Kahoot quiz

Why should you do all the hard work? Have your students create their own Kahoot quizzes. Whatever grammar or vocabulary they are learning at the moment can be reviewed painlessly. The best thing is, they will learn twice. First time, when they create their quiz, and second time when they play their classmates’ quizzes. You can choose one or two quizzes to be played online for the whole group via Zoom or any other software you are using. Assign the rest of the quizzes to be played as a challenge.

5. Quizlet

Quizlet needs no introduction, but besides using it for independent student work, you could also use it for your Zoom classes. I use it to create discussion questions or speaking prompts so I can easily share it on my screen. Students always see only one question/prompt, so they focus more. It’s super easy to prepare and when you are pressed for time, you can use a couple of my discussion sets on different topics.

Other resources

Online ESL Video Lesson : Can Sci-fi Predict the Future?

TEDtalk Video ESL Lesson Plan: What Makes Something Go Viral

TED Talk ESL Video Lesson Plan: How To Grow New Brain Cells

Digital and Online Teaching Resources for Teachers Who Teach English from Home

Digital and Online Teaching Resources for Teachers Who Teach English from Home

I put together a list of free digital and online teaching resources, or resources that now offer premium features for free, that might be useful now when many teachers are overwhelmed by the sudden shift to online teaching, for which many of us aren’t prepared due to the consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Platforms for digital classroom

1. Zoom

Zoom is video-conferencing tool. The users can collaborate on projects, record sessions and share screens. The Basic plan is free and it offers unlimited number of meetings, however it limits the time of the meetings with three or more participants to 40 minutes.

2. Webex

This is another video-conferencing tool. The free plan offers screen sharing and meetings up to 50 people.

3. Classdojo

Classdojo is a free communication app and website for building school community. You can share photos, videos, files, use portfolios, messaging and more.

4. Google Classroom

This free service by Google simplifies creating, distributing and grading assignments. It helps teachers get classes organized, and communicate efficiently with students.

5. Padlet

Padlet has a free version and a premium version for schools. It is a virtual board similar to Pinterest, but it offers a better way how to organize your notes, or whatever you want.

Online resources

1. Kahoot Premium

Kahoot is widely popular and it’s good to know that its creators made Premium available for free for the rest of the academic year. Try it out!

2. Quizziz

My second most popular online quiz tool can be used to assign homework(this works great) or do solo practice. Very useful these times.

3. Cambridge English Write and Improve

This website is great for practicing writing! Students register for free and submit their word and get instant feedback and tips on how to improve their writing. There are many writing assignments, W&I workbooks: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and extra category “Just for fun.”

There is also a test zone for IELTS Academic, General training and B2 First Certificate.

4. TedEd Lessons

This is great for assigning homework. There are lessons based on the videos, students just need to register for free. I then assign videos, they watch it at home, do the Dig deeper and Discuss sections. You can also customize the lessons.

5. LearnEnglish Teens by the British Council

This lovely website is great when students have to study at home. They can practice grammar and vocabulary and I particularly like the Skills section that has online exercises so students get instant feedback.

6. OpenLearn

Free courses. Who needs more? But seriously, this is a great resource for older students. There are plenty of free courses on different subjects(Science, History, Languages, Nature, etc.)

7. Book Creator

This is fun and creative collaborative tool. Your students can create digital books online. Now you get get the premium features for free for 90 days.

8. Smithsonian Explore&Learn

The Smithsonian offer a lot of online activities not only for the younger kids. On their website you will find the Learning Lab with thousands of resources and Science Game Center with fun games and apps.


Future Learn is another platform that offers free courses. There is one that might be particularly interesting for some teachers, it’s called Teaching English Online. Why not give it a go if you have the time. And let us know what you think!

Other resources

Video lessons

Online exercises

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