Present Simple Conversation Questions

Conversation Prompts for the ESL classroom

As teachers it’s not always easy to have a spontaneous conversation with our language users, trying to stay within a specific grammar target. Over the years I’ve had hundreds of university students and adults in my ESL classroom. They seem to always tell me the same thing, that they already know most of the grammar but they just want to practice CONVERSATION. Every ESL teacher’s worst nightmare is the “only conversation” student because we all know that it’s impossible to speak well without the necessary grammar. Usually, I try to follow a simple lesson plan.

1. Teach the grammar
2. Do some activities involving reading, listening and speaking using said grammar
3. Have a great conversation using the grammar that we’ve just used.

With the “only conversation” students after about 30 minutes of the 1 hour lesson, I sometimes found myself at a loss for what to talk about. Especially when the student has an Elementary or Pre-Intermediate level of English.

So, like most teachers, I had a huge supply of printed materials that I would print off at the last minute and then promptly misplace or lose before I needed it the next time. It was all a mish-mosh of bad materials that I really didn’t like. That’s when I decided to make my own sets of Conversation Prompts. I like the idea that they are uniform – in the sense that they are all the same size. Once you laminate them, punch holes and put them on a ring, they will be your go-to for years to come. It’s easy to just grab the set that you need for the student of class that you’re teaching. You can keep them in a big bucket, basket or even hang them on the wall.

I also separated the cards by grammar tense or question type. Here is what I came up with:

Present Simple

The questions are grouped into the following categories:
TO BE – practicing questions with short and long answers
DO/DOES – questions with short answers
 HOW OFTEN – using adverbs of frequency to talk about daily routines
WHAT/ WHEN/ HOW/ WHERE/ WHO – Practicing different question words.
HAVE GOT – questions using the verb HAVE GOT to speak about possession 

Here is a link to purchase the downloadable question cards to PRINT AT HOME.


This set of 200 Past Simple (Regular & Irregular verbs) and Present Perfect question prompt cards are great for speaking and listening activities in Upper Elementary to Pre-Intermediate adult and teen ESL classrooms. Great for private students as well as small groups. The cards feature questions about everyday life, likes and dislikes in the past, past experiences and more! These are a great way to keep all your questions organized! All of my question cards are exactly the same size so you can mix and match them depending on your lesson!

The questions are grouped into the following categories:
54 Past Simple Irregular Verb Questions
38 Past Simple Regular Verb Questions
48 Past Simple – When was the last time you…….?
48 Present Perfect Questions – Have you ever……?
12 Present Perfect Questions with FOR and SINCE – How long have you …..?

You can also check out ALL of my CONVERSATION QUESTION SETS by clicking HERE

or grab the CONVERSATION QUESTIONS BUNDLE with over 650 different prompts divided by language target.

Each set targets specific speaking skills, making this BUNDLE a must-have for language teachers to keep on hand in the classroom!
If you have any questions about these or any other teaching resources, feel free to email me!