Six very original “what if” questions


Want an alternative to the usual "second conditional" question about winning a lot of money?

A little while ago we tackled the conditionals with my intermediate class. One of my students brought in a book and asked if we could use it for a speaking activity. The book is called If, you can see it here. Just flicking through it produced some excellent alternative questions for your conditional practice (specifically the second, or present unreal, conditional). If you want a fresher alternative to the tired old “If you won a million dollars/euros/pounds what would you buy?” here are half a dozen of my favourites!

1. If you could have one current writer write your biography, who would you pick?

2. If you could receive one small package this very moment, who would it be from and what would be in it?

3. If you could sing any one song beautifully and perfectly, which one would you pick?

4. If you could be the only one to hear the confession of one criminal from history who would it be?

5. If you could go back to any age and start a different life, what age would that be? Why?

6. (the last one I would reserve perhaps for the staff room, but I had to include it here) If you had to give up all sexual activity for one year, how much money would you demand (minimum) in return?

In fact, I’ve chosen some of the lighter ones in the book. Thanks to my student Sagra for pointing it out.

Published in: on February 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That sure is an activity that needs refreshing after the first few times you do it, as the questions are new for the students but hearing the same old answers saps the natural teaching enthusiasm a little. Also fascinated that native speakers would be interested enough in such questions to make a whole book out of them, shows that TEFL isn’t such a strange sealed off world after all…

    For 3rd conditionals, Benjamin Button has a great scene, like a kinda short Sliding Doors. This came up in a “You know you’ve been in TEFL too long when… you can’t see a film without thinking about lesson tie ins” conversation at work

    TEFLtastic blog-

  2. Saw Benjamin Button yesterday. But if I hadn’t seen that, I might have gone to Revolutionary Road instead. Which is the BB scene with the 3rd Conditional? By the way, the film also has the BEST use of that rather overworked superlative “Absolutely” I have seen/heard in a long time. What think you?

  3. Trying not to spoil the plot, it’s the bit where there’s an accident and then the bits leading up to it

    Great use of I wish with unreal past in that film as well.

    Arghh! I have turned into a complete TEFL otaku!

  4. […] Six very original what if questions. Tired of talking about lotteries and winning a million dollars in your conditional classes? Here […]

  5. this is very interesting:) nice one! cheers~

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