Home | Intermediate ESL English Discussion Topics
Here's one of the three reusable chapters in this book. There is an extensive resource section (show below) to help in reusing this lesson model many times.
Lesson 2 of 3
This lesson focuses on short and straightforward informal expressions. The informal words used in this lesson include colloquialisms, slang, and euphemisms.
1 Acquire the ability to use informal expressions in native speech.
2 Construct a simple dialogue using everyday words.
Choose an informal expression from the resources at the end of this lesson, for example: "Colloquialisms (People): Down to earth - Someone who is honest and likable."
Choose six words from around the saying and describe for a comprehension check.
Create two or three questions relating to the subject.
Create a pack of 12-24 cards, each of which has a topic written for the Bonus Activity.
1 Warm-up and Objective
Introduce the use of informal expressions.
Introduce the main topic of the lesson chosen in the preparation work, whether colloquialisms, slang, or euphemisms.
Check students' understanding of these terms.
Talk about the final goal of the lesson: students will create a dialogue using informal expressions.
2 Exploration and Comprehension
Using the words chosen in teacher preparation, write related words suggested by students on the board.
Ask for synonyms and antonyms to help clear up any confusion.
Write the expression on the board while asking students how to use it.
Next, break down the informal speech and discuss the words individually.
Introduce the primary definition and again consider the words to check comprehension.
3 Guided Student Practical
Divide the class into pairs. Each pair then writes four words that fit with the subject.
Next, each pair writes two sentences for each word.
The group then must choose only one sentence for each of the four words.
Making two sentences for each word encourages student discussion and allows them to choose the sentences that fit best.
In their sentence, students should have used the expression constructively.
The aim is to create a coherent paragraph.
After choosing their four sentences, students must arrange them to sound natural and flowing.
Finally, students create questions to complement individual sentences.
After completing the questions, students put the four questions and answers together to create a basic conversation.
Proof all the students' work to ensure they have questions and answers correctly.
4 Student Presentation and Evaluation
When they have completed their dialogues, student pairs present them to the rest of the class.
One student asks the questions, and the other gives the answers.
Award points if students remember the script without looking at their written text.
5 Review and Assess
With so many questions available, the class can now use them.
Ask students for other answers to check comprehension. Again, students should have built up their confidence by this point.
6 Bonus Activity - Card Game
A quick game could use informal expressions to talk about a random subject if there is time.
Select from your cards at random.
Students use any friendly expression in a sentence relating to the selected topic.
Splitting up the class into teams can give more energy and excitement to the game.
Below are various informal expressions, divided into colloquialisms, slang, and euphemisms. I have grouped them into simple terms.
Can of worms - An unpredictable situation that reveals more complex problems as we deal with it.
Eat my dust - To fall far behind someone in a competitive situation.
In the crosshairs - In a position open to criticism.
In the game - To have focus or concentration on an event.
Pass the buck - To make someone else deal with a situation or problem, that is your responsibility.
Raucous - Too loud and sounding rough.
Smoke and mirrors - Information designed to hide the truth about a situation or create a false impression.
Teaser - This is a promotion for an event.
Washout - Something has become a complete failure.
A sorry sight - Someone who does not look right or is an object of pity.
Drag - Something is boring.
Feeling blue - Feeling sad or depressed.
Guts - Having spirit or determination in doing something.
Hang-up - An inhibition that prevents someone from moving on.
What's the use? - Feeling pessimistic, cynical, or lacking control.
Down to earth - Someone who is honest and likable.
Fix someone up - Arrange for someone to have something they need.
Hot stuff - A person who is desirable and attractive.
She's/He's out - The person is unavailable.
I wasn't born yesterday - Fooling this person is impossible.
Barebones - The most basic features or details of something.
Class - Something or someone with elegance and style.
Lemon - Something is of inferior quality or does not work.
No-brainer - Something is so obvious it needs no thought.
Over yonder - Something far away.
Rathole - A small, dirty, uncomfortable room in a run-down building.
Security blanket - Something provides comfort and reassurance in tough times.
Sunday best - The best clothes we wear for special occasions.
Turn-off - Something is of no interest or stops us from feeling excited.
Doing business/going to the bathroom/powder your nose - Use the toilet.
Turn a blind eye - To ignore something.
Bite the dust - To die.
Collateral damage - Deaths of ordinary citizens during a war.
Passed away - To have died.
Blow chunks - To vomit or be sick.
Lose your breakfast/lunch/dinner - To vomit or be sick.
Not doing so well - Describes someone ill or injured.
Adult beverages - Alcoholic drinks.
Broke - Having no money.
Fell off the back of a lorry/truck - Something initially stolen seems too cheap for sale.
Sub-standard - Of inferior quality.
Be with child/expecting - Be pregnant.
Big-boned/curvy/portly/rotund - Fat or overweight.
Break wind/pass gas - Fart.
Economical with the truth - Lying.
Gained a few extra pounds - To have put on much weight.
On the streets - Homeless.
Downsizing - To dismiss or lay off several people from work.
Let someone go - To dismiss someone from work.
Recycling - Refers to plagiarism or copying other people's work and claiming it as your own.
Sanitation engineer - A dustman/garbage collector.
Take early retirement - A company dismissed a worker.
Chat up – We start a conversation with an attractive person.
Cram - To study much material in a brief time.
Diss - To show disrespect to someone or something.
Give someone a bell - To call someone on the phone.
Leg it - To run away quickly.
Nap - To sleep for a brief time during the day.
Skive - To avoid doing something we should do, enjoy going to work or school.
Sorted - To satisfactorily deal with a situation.
Splash out - To spend money casually and too comfortably.
Wind someone up - To make someone angry on purpose.
Ace - The best.
All right? - Asking if someone is okay.
Blinding - Amazing.
Cheers - Used for expressing thanks or, before a drink, to wish someone good health.
Chuffed to bits - To be happily surprised or pleased about something.
Gutted - disappointed or upset at the shocking news.
In a strop - To be sulking or in an unhappy or angry mood.
Nice one - A slightly impressed compliment.
Not my cup of tea - Something we aren't interested in or don't enjoy.
Piece of cake/Easy peasy - Something is straightforward.
Unreal - Something is shocking, unusual, or outstanding.
Botched - A worker has done a poor job.
Busted - Caught or discovered something done or still doing.
Dodgy/Sketchy - Someone or something is untrustworthy.
Flamed - Judged severely or verbally attacked.
My bad - Owning up to a mistake you've made.
Bangers – Sausages/old cars in terrible condition.
Bottom line - The most basic fact or issue.
Wonky - Not straight or stable.