10 Conversation Topics for Adults Learning English

A man in a white shirt and a woman wearing a purple hijab converse with a woman wearing a checkered shirt

Adult English students typically have very different needs, interests, and experiences compared to younger learners. As a result, adults usually want to talk about very different topics. Typically, conversation topics for adults learning English should be more complex, edifying, and relevant to adult life. In order to spice up your next English conversation, let’s look at 10 engaging conversation topics for adults learning English

Whether you’re a business professional or an adult ESL student, you’re probably in need of more interesting English conversation topics. After all, you can only talk about the weather for so long!

Engaging English Conversation Topics for Adults Learning English

For each of the following topics, we will include an overview, as well as a few questions to get you started:

Staying Healthy

As we get older, we must all face the reality of our aging bodies. When you were young, you probably weren’t very concerned about diet, exercise, cholesterol, or annual check-ups. However, changing health is now a daily reality. As a result, this is a topic that most adults will find relevant.

Here are a few good questions for your next discussion on health:

  • What do you do to stay healthy?
  • Have your health habits changed since you were younger? If so, how?
  • What kind of remedies do you use for common ailments?
  • Have you ever gone on a diet?

Parenting

Even if you don’t have children (and don’t plan to have any in the future), you probably have an opinion about parenting. Parenting styles can vary greatly between different families, and this is a great opportunity to discuss issues related to having and raising children.

Any of the following questions will help get you started:

  • Do you have any children? If so, how many? If not, do you want to have children in the future?
  • Did your parents keep track of your every move or did they prefer to give you more freedom as a child?
  • In your opinion, what did your parent(s) do best? What could they have done better?
  • Do you think there is a “right” way to raise children?

Change

Change is a natural part of life. While some people embrace change, other people fear it. Though this is a very general topic, it can be applied to many different aspects of adult life, from relationships to education.

Here are a few sample questions on change:

  • How has fashion changed over the course of your life?
  • Can people change over time, or do you think our personalities and behavior are pretty much set in stone?
  • What social changes would you like to see in your country?
  • If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

Cultural Differences

When you meet someone from a different country, cultural differences are almost bound to come up. This is because many people enjoy talking about the unique aspects of their home country. While you should always be careful and show respect for other cultures, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and learn more about different places.

Here are some useful conversation starters:

  • Have you traveled outside of your home country?
  • What role does family play in your home country?
  • Do you celebrate any unique holidays in your culture?
  • What aspects of your culture do you like? What aspects do you dislike?

Work

Whether you’ve only been in the workforce for a short time or you’re nearing retirement, you’ve probably got a few interesting stories to tell. For better or worse, work takes up the vast majority of your adult life. As part of this topic, you can delve into related topics like getting promotions, career aspirations, and work culture.

The following questions are just the tip of the iceberg:

  • What was your first job?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
  • Do you enjoy your work?
  • Have you ever had a mentor at work? If so, what did you learn from them?

Budgeting

Even if you have a very high-income job, you probably need to budget your money to one degree or another. With bills, taxes, and day-to-day expenses, budgeting is a necessary consequence of being an adult. While it’s considered impolite to ask personal questions about income, this doesn’t mean you can’t discuss certain habits or behaviors related to money.

Here are some good ways to talk about budgeting:

  • Do you like to splurge on things or do you prefer to stay frugal?
  • Do you make a list of items you need to buy before you leave the house?
  • Have you ever experienced “buyer’s remorse”?
  • Is there a high-quality product or service that you don’t mind paying a little extra for?

Sports

Sports like soccer, baseball, and basketball are some of the most popular hobbies and pastimes in the world. However, not every adult is a huge sports fanatic. Nonetheless, most people have had some experience playing or watching sports, even if they are not passionate about the subject.

So, here are a few questions to help you talk about sports in English:

  • Do you have a favorite sport? Favorite team? Favorite player?
  • Did you ever play sports as a child? If so, which ones?
  • What is the most popular sport in your home country?
  • Do you prefer to watch sports or play sports?

Technology

Ever-changing technology is an aspect of the modern world that affects everyone. From AI replacing human workers to medical inventions saving millions of lives, the possibilities with technology are practically limitless. This also makes technology a fun and interesting topic of conversation for adult English students.

Here are a few sample questions on technology:

  • Is technology an important part of your daily life?
  • Which technological inventions or breakthroughs have had the biggest impact on your life?
  • Do you think people spend too much time on their smartphones?
  • Do you think robots will ever become “too” advanced?

Stress

While stress is not fun to experience, it can be a very interesting topic of conversation. Discussing stress is also a great way to address issues that cause it, so your conversation can be highly therapeutic. Stress is something that every adult experiences, which also makes it a great topic for your next English conversation.

Here are a few stress-related questions:

  • What are some common causes of stress for people?
  • Do you feel more stressed as an adult than you did as a child?
  • How do you personally deal with stress?
  • Do you think there are any benefits of stress?

Crime and Punishment

Crime is something that almost everyone has an opinion about. Your views on crime and punishment are likely influenced by where you were born, your upbringing, and your political views, among other things.

Crime can also be a great segue into related issues like class differences and the role of government in society. Be prepared though, as you might encounter some strong opinions on these topics!

Here are a few relevant questions:

  • Do you think that there is such a thing as a “victimless” crime?
  • Have you ever witnessed a crime? If so, what happened?
  • Do you believe in capital punishment?
  • Do you think punishments for crime in your country are too severe or not severe enough?

We hope you found these conversation topics for adults learning English useful. Now you have plenty to talk about in your next English conversation! For additional help, here are some tips & tricks for speaking English fluently!

Do you want to find people to have these convos with? Here are some specific topics you can learn to speak about with confidence in a SpeakUp live session.

Enjoy 1-week of SpeakUp for free and jump into a live discussion right now. You don’t need to worry about picking a topic or finding someone to talk to anymore. Watch your confidence grow as your native English teacher on-call guides the discussions and provides instant feedback for you.

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