ESL Conversation Starters Instead of “How are you?”

When you’re an ESL teacher finding different ways to start off the conversation with your student or students can sometimes be challenging, especially with students that you know or have taught for a long time. Usually the conversation starter is a simple “How are you?” which, although common amongst native speakers, can sometimes feel very repetitive and boring.

Although “How are you?” is a very common way to great someone it is also important for ESL learners to hear and be aware of different variations and others ways that people they meet may start a conversation. By using some of the different questions below you will help your students prepare for different real-life situations that they may come across. Below are a range of some different ESL Conversation Starters that you can kick off your classes with instead of the usual “How are you?”.

Alternative ESL Conversation Starters For Beginner Students

  1. How was your weekend?
  2. How was your morning?
  3. Are you having a good day?
  4. How have you been?
  5. How’s your day been?
  6. How’s it going?
  7. How’s everything?
  8. How’s work today?
  9. How’s things?
  10. Have you had a good day?

Alternative ESL Conversation Starters For Intermediate and Advanced Students

  1. What’s new?
  2. What have you got up to today?
  3. How’s life treating you?
  4. Any news with you?
  5. Are you keeping well?
  6. You alright?
  7. Have you been enjoying the sunshine?
  8. Have you been up to much today?
  9. Have you spoke any English today?
  10. How’s your English practice going?
  11. Are you having an awesome day?!
  12. Everything good with you?
  13. When did we last speak?
  14. How long’s it been since we last spoke?
  15. Is life treating you well?
  16. How was work today?
  17. Are you having a good Monday? (Or any other day!)
  18. Are you having a good week?
  19. How’s you week been so far?
  20. Have you had a busy day?
  21. What’s up?
  22. Are you looking forward to today’s class?
  23. Any news with you?
  24. How’s everything going?
  25. Did you have a good day at work?

These are some general ESL conversation starters to use at the beginning of a class, but once you have gone over the pleasantries then you can start getting into the really interesting stuff by exploring different conversation topics or maybe try some debate questions to get your students thinking a bit more.