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A practice conversation for those learning English literacy.


36 Questions to ask in a Quarantine

By Temma Ehrenfeld

The “36 Questions” made a splash years ago after the concept appeared in a New York Times “Modern Love” column. Readers loved the idea that these 36 questions could make couples fall in love. It was the latest aphrodisiac, the social-science Cupid wand. It was magic. 

The magic is listening to each other, and taking turns, with anyone at all.    

You don’t need to wait for someone you’d like to be with. Try it with someone who is hard to be with, but you’re stuck with. Call it “Love in the Time of Corona.” 

Each of you should take a turn answering each question. Especially if you’re using this process with family read the questions first and decide if you’ll be leaving some of them out or switching in something else. It’s the process, not the questions, what counts.  

Here are the original questions, in order:

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a phone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a perfect day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamt of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “we are both in this room feeling…”

26. Complete this sentence “I wish I had someone with whom I could share…”

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them. Be honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Here are a few variations:

  • If you could choose the sex and physical appearance of your soon-to-be-born child, would you do it?
  • Would you be willing to have horrible nightmares for a year if you would be rewarded with extraordinary wealth?
  • While on a trip to another city, your spouse/lover meets and spends a night with an exciting stranger.  If they will never meet again, and you could never otherwise learn of the incident, would you want your partner to tell you about it?

Have fun! Wash your hands!

Introducing Yourself in English

Couple having coffee together in cafe

© Cultura/Antonio Saba/ Riser/ Getty Images

Learning how to introduce yourself is an essential part of learning how to converse in English. Introductions are also an important part of making small talk at parties or other social events. Introductory phrases are different than the ones we use to greet friends, but they’re often used together as parts of the broader conversation, as you’ll see.

Introducing Yourself

In this example, Peter and Jane are meeting for the first time at a social event. After greeting each other, they begin by asking simple personal questions. Working with a friend or classmate, take turns practicing this role-play.

Peter: Hello.

Jane: Hi!

Peter: My name is Peter. What’s your name?

Jane: My name is Jane. Nice to meet you.

Peter: It’s a pleasure. This is a great party!

Jane: Yes, it is. Where are you from?

Peter: I’m from Amsterdam.

Jane: Amsterdam? Are you German?

Peter: No, I’m not German. I’m Dutch.

Jane: Oh, you’re Dutch. Sorry about that.

Peter: That’s OK. Where are you from?

Jane: I’m from London, but I’m not British.

Peter: No, what are you?

Jane: Well, my parents were Spanish, so I’m Spanish, too.

Peter: That’s very interesting. Spain is a beautiful country.

Jane: Thank you. It is a wonderful place.

Key Vocabulary

In the previous example, Peter and Jane are introducing themselves. Several important phrases that they use in this exchange are:

  • My name is…
  • Where are you from?
  • I’m from… (city, state, or country)
  • Are you… (Spanish, American, German, etc.)

Introducing Other People

Introductions in Formal Situations

Introductions can occur between more than two people, for example at a party or at a business meeting. When you meet someone for the first time, it is common to greet them by saying, “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” or “Pleased to meet you.” It is polite to respond by repeating the statement back at them, as Mary does in this example:

Ken: Peter, I’d like you to meet Mary.

Peter: It’s a pleasure to meet you.

Mary: It’s a pleasure to meet you too!

Ken: Mary works for…

Introductions in Informal Situations

In informal situations, especially in North America, introductions are also made simply saying, “This is (name).” It is also common to just say “Hi” or “Hello” as a response in this informal setting.

Ken: Peter, this is Mary.

Peter: Hi. How are you?

Mary: Hello! Pleased to meet you.

Ken: Mary works for…

Common Introductory Phrases

As you can see in the previous examples, there are a number of different phrases that are commonly used to introduce strangers:

  • (name), I don’t think you’ve met (name).
  • I don’t think you know (name)
  • May I introduce you to (name)
  • (name), do you know (name)?
  • (name), I’d like you to meet (name)

Saying Hello and Goodbye

Many people begin and end conversations by saying hello and goodbye to each other. Doing so is considered good manners in many parts of the English-speaking world, and it’s also a simple way to express friendly interest in whoever you’re chatting with.

A simple greeting followed by asking about the other person is all that is needed to begin an introduction. In this brief scenario, two people have just met:

Jane: Hello, Peter. How are you?

Peter: Fine, thanks. How are you?

Jane: I’m fine, thank you.

Once you’re finished speaking with someone, it’s customary to say goodbye as you both part, as in this example:

Peter: Goodbye, Jane. See you tomorrow!

Jane: Bye bye, Peter. Have a nice evening.

Peter: Thanks, you too!

Key Vocabulary

Key phrases to remember include:

  • Hello… How are you?
  • I’m fine, thank you
  • Goodbye
  • See you… (tomorrow, this weekend, next week, etc.)
  • Have a nice… (day, evening, week, etc.)

More Beginning Dialogues

Once you’re mastered introducing yourself, you can practice your English skills with more exercises, including telling time, shopping at a store, traveling at an airport, asking for directions, staying at a hotel, and eating at a restaurant. Work with a friend or classmate to practice these role-playing dialogues, just as you did for these exercises.

Learning English dialogue can be frustrating, doubly so if you tend to be more introverted.  However, once basic skills are learned, introversion takes a back seat as you become more interested in talking with someone than focusing on yourself.  DH

Thanks to:


Conversation Questions–Easter

person holding Easter egg

Unsplash photo by Sweet Amaryllis @sweet_amaryllis

A Part of Conversation Questions for the ESL Classroom.

  • Why do we celebrate Easter?
  • Do you celebrate Easter in your country?
  • How do you celebrate Easter in your country?
  • Do you have any special family traditions?
  • Did the original meaning of Easter get lost?
  • Do you know the meaning of Easter?
  • Do you celebrate Easter?
  • What do you do to celebrate it?
  • Do you consider it an important holiday? Why or why not?
  • Do you think it used to be more important than it is today? Why or why not?
  • What are the 40 days before Easter called?
    • What special activities or events happen in those 40 days?
    • Do you observe these 40 days?
  • What is the Sunday before Easter called?
    • What is it remembering?
  • What is the Friday before Easter called?
    • What is it remembering?
  • Do you think most people consider Easter time a religious celebration? Why or why not?
  • How do you think the Easter bunny and hiding colored eggs came to be part of the celebration of Easter?
  • Do you think it is wrong to associate religious holidays with other types of things, like Easter and the bunny?
    • Christmas and Santa Claus?

Date Night At Home With These Creative Activities for Couples

Article by Southern Living Editors


Date night at home

© Getty Images

With all of your everyday activities now completely combined under one roof–working from home, homeschooling kids, exercising, virtual happy hours, you name it–it’s understandable that things may get tense. Or, after the umpteenth Netflix marathon, you may simply find yourselves utterly bored.

There’s no better time to mix things up. Put the kids to bed, turn off that show you’ve been binging, and try some of these at home activities for couples tonight. It just might turn into the quarantine date night you both desperately needed.

Host a wine tasting for two.

Break out a few of your favorite bottles, slice some cheese, and get ready to taste–no spit bucket necessary.

Watch your wedding video.

Footage from your favorite day isn’t reserved for anniversaries. Press play and get ready to be transported back to the happiest of times. Not married? Take a trip down memory lane by going through old photos instead.

Learn a few new dance moves.

If you haven’t danced in the living room since you were practicing for the first dance at your wedding, it’s time to bust a move. Turn on your favorite album, jump onto YouTube, and try out a tutorial. Looking for inspiration? We have a few dances Southerners should know to get you started.

Break out a board game.

It only takes two to play some of the classics. Competitive couples be warned. It could get heated!

Fire up the fondue.

Indulge in warm cheese over homemade bread or melted chocolate over strawberries. Whether you go sweet or savory, there’s nothing like a batch of dipped bites to get you out of a dinner rut.

Try stargazing.

Grab a glass of wine and a pair of binoculars. Gaze up from your patio and see what constellations you can find. Bonus points if you keep your cell phone off the whole time.

Challenge each other to a video game marathon.

If you haven’t spent a whole evening trying to beat level 9 since college or high school, take a break from reality and step back in time for a night. Whether you plug in your old Super Nintendo or commandeer your kids’ Nintendo Switch, there’s nothing like the rush of finally beating the boss after the tenth try.

Treat each other to breakfast in bed.

…or dinner in bed if your kids are early risers. Take turns cooking for each other on two different days so the other person can relax completely. Just imagine it’s room service and enjoy a little staycation luxury.

Jot down your story.

The story of how you meet is a meaningful one, and we bet you both remember it a little bit differently. Put your history down on paper. Your kids will thank you one day.

Take a love language test and compare notes.

Think you know your partner? Think again. Take a quiz to see which of the five love languages–quality time, giving and receiving gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch–is most important to your partner and which is more important to you.

Host a friendly cooking competition.

Test your skills, “Top Chef” style. Find two new recipes you’ve been meaning to try, set the stakes, and get cooking.

Make a travel bucket list.

Even though travel may feel like the furthest thing from the current stay-at-home reality, there’s no time like now to start thinking of all the places you want to go together once you finally can again. Close your eyes and envision future escapes to Carolina beaches, Smoky Mountain peaks, and vibrant Southern cities.

Try your hand at classic card games.

Gin rummy, go fish, war, speed–there are a slew of games waiting in that deck of cards collecting dust in your drawer.

Take turns watching each other’s favorite movies.

Your all-time favorite flicks may be completely different genres, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give each other’s a try. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy his action-packed movie or her lovely period drama.

Toss together a homemade pizza.

Sure, you can order a delivery pizza any day, but there’s a certain romance in the art of making a pie together. Scour the fridge for any fun leftovers you can throw on top to make something unique. Or if you’re a planner, we’ve got you covered with some of our favorite pizza recipes.

What are your favorite date-night things to do ?

Conversation Questions–Easter

three cross under cloudy sky

Photo by Dylan McLeod on Unsplash


For most Christians, Easter 2020 is April 12.  This year religious observance will be low-key as the coronavirus has effected even worship services.  So let’s talk about its significance to the world of Christianity.  Remember, Easter is the basis for faith-based Christianity-Jesus rising from the dead on the third day.  In this time of uncertainty, I think we all need a framework of belief, of faith.  Take this time to seek your framework for living and believing in a faith-based life.  Stay well.

A Part of Conversation Questions for the ESL Classroom.

  • Why do we celebrate Easter?
  • Do you celebrate Easter in your country?
  • How do you celebrate Easter in your country?
  • Do you have any special family traditions?
  • Did the original meaning of Easter get lost?
  • Do you know the meaning of Easter?
  • Do you celebrate Easter?
  • What do you do to celebrate it?
  • Do you consider it an important holiday? Why or why not?
  • Do you think it used to be more important than it is today? Why or why not?
  • What are the 40 days before Easter called?
    • What special activities or events happen in those 40 days?
    • Do you observe these 40 days?
  • What is the Sunday before Easter called?
    • What is it remembering?
  • What is the Friday before Easter called?
    • What is it remembering?
  • Do you think most people consider Easter time a religious celebration? Why or why not?
  • How do you think the Easter bunny and hiding colored eggs came to be part of the celebration of Easter?
  • Do you think it is wrong to associate religious holidays with other types of things, like Easter and the bunny?
    • Christmas and Santa Claus?

Your Literary Heroine Based on Your Myers-Briggs Type

We admire literary heroines for their virtues as much as what we learn from their mistakes. In this way, fiction can teach us about ourselves. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator provides similar insight. More specifically, this system of typology illuminates the strengths and weaknesses of sixteen wonderfully unique personality types.

It’s always a good time to revisit your personality type (although we shouldn’t hide behind our four-letter label to excuse our flaws). So for inspiration—and just for fun—we decided to match the sixteen possible Myers-Briggs types with sixteen beloved literary heroines. Certainly, real personality types are multifaceted, and fictional character descriptions may only skim the surface. But read on, and you may be surprised how aspects of these personalities capture both the gifts and flaws of some of our favorite leading ladies.


In her 1900s novel, Lucy Maud Montgomery paints Anne of Green Gables as a young woman who embodies creativity, altruism, and starry-eyed resolve—definite qualities of the INFP personality type. Her devoutly caring nature and ability to see the good in others are characteristic of this type. Anne relies on her feelings and intuition to guide her. She experiences joys and sorrows with equal intensity. Anne knows how to make the best of any situation, drawing on her rich imagination to overcome challenges. Though she spends a lot of time in her head, she’s captivated by “such an interesting world.” Purpose-driven and ambitious like the INFP, Anne hopes to better the world around her. She’s also quick to lend her hand to others. Ever the romantic, Anne sets her sights on creating a poetic, meaningful life.



Anna Karenina of Tolstoy’s classic by the same name has a magnetic charm and confidence that commands a room. Anna thrives on excitement. Though seemingly capricious at times, she’s no stranger to self-reflection or brooding. Anna lets her heart guide her, refusing to compromise her principles. Genuine and gregarious, Anna easily connects with people. She pours herself into her relationships, defining her life in terms of her love and devotion to others. Like a classic ENFJ, Anna views happiness as an investment, and she makes it her purpose to share happiness with others. Even so, she cannot be truly content when she does not live up to her ideals—she’s an idealist, after all. The character of Anna captures the passionate, bright spirit of the ENFJ.


From Suzanne Collins’ trilogy The Hunger Games comes Katniss Everdeen, a model of resourceful independence. She’s analytical, decisive, and highly competent even under pressure. Katniss trusts her capabilities—and she has good reason to. She’s astute in her observations, objective, and mindful of the big picture. In these ways, Katniss demonstrates the INTJ’s knack for strategic planning, as she’s quick to determine logical solutions. Though Katniss keeps her feelings hidden, her compassion for others speaks through her actions. When forced into the limelight, Katniss would rather stray from the attention. Katniss questions social conventions that seem unsound. A true INTJ, Katniss thinks outside the box.


Jane Austen describes Emma as “quick and decided in her ways”; this heroine not only craves a good challenge but also trusts that she will pull off her schemes with flying colors. As demonstrated by her matchmaking, Emma sees possibilities and orchestrates plans with ease. She believes that human nature is best discerned with logic. Emma tends to misinterpret people’s feelings, including her own. She craves good company and delights in conversations that stimulate her mind, namely banter (or debates) with those whose intelligence matches hers. Emma voices her opinions with clever self-confidence, holding her own in any situation. Yet, she’s an attentive friend who wants to help her loved ones thrive. Emma possesses the energy, charisma, and fixed determination of the ENTJ.


Natasha Rostova of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace radiates joy and charisma. Like a classic ENFP, she delights in life and its infinite possibilities, leaping at opportunities with gusto. For better or worse, she’s not one to look before she leaps. She brings spontaneity and infectious optimism wherever she goes, and she goes wherever her heart leads her. Natasha’s feelings sometimes overpower her, yet she’s in tune with her own emotions and attentive to how others feel. She’s observant and, when given time to herself, quite speculative. Natasha treats others with compassion and has a talent for bringing out the best in people. Creative and playful, Natasha inspires others without effort—just like the ENFP.


In Betty Smith’s 1943 novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, we meet Francie Nolan as the quiet observer who watches the world unfold from the fire escape of her home. The story soon reveals the depths of imagination, emotion, and intuition behind her unassuming demeanor. Francie seems to have insight beyond her years, dissecting situations and motives with keen precision. She’s empathetic and sensitive, easily overwhelmed by tragedies and injustice. Yet, drawn to ideals such as truth and beauty, Francie finds meaning in even mundane situations. She not only imagines what could be by setting lofty goals, but she also has the grit to pursue them. Like the INFJ, Francie resolves to make something of her life “so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”

See yourself yet ?  No worries, there’s more at:


Conversation Questions April Fool’s Day



  • What are some tricks people play on April Fool’s Day?
  • What is the background of this day?
  • Do you have the same tradition in your country?
  • Do you play tricks on April 1st?
  • What sort of tricks do you play?
  • Have you ever tried fooling your family on April Fool’s Day?
  • Do you always look forward to April Fool’s Day?
  • Have you ever been tricked on April 1st?
  • Are you mad if someone play tricks on you?
  • Do you know anyone that got married on April Fool’s Day?
  • Did someone play a trick on you? What was it?
  • Have you ever been fooled on April Fool’s Day?
    • If yes, how did you feel then?
  • How would you feel if you were being fooled by your dearest friends

A Part of Conversation Questions for the ESL Classroom.