Bad Habits

Boy in a Blue Shirt Doing the Bad Habit of Picking His Nose
Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on April 17, 2023 and last updated on May 14, 2023

Talking about bad habits is an excellent conversation topic for English learners because it can help them improve their vocabulary and overall level of English. Bad habits are a universal topic that everyone can relate to and discuss, making them ideal for language learners.

Discussing bad habits allows English learners to expand their vocabulary and practice using words and phrases related to negative behaviours. It also provides opportunities for them to learn new idioms and expressions that can be used in a variety of situations.

Additionally, discussing bad habits encourages learners to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as they explore the causes and effects of these behaviours. They can also practice expressing their opinions, agreeing or disagreeing with others and providing reasons for their beliefs.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

What Are Bad Habits?

Bad habits are behaviours or actions that can be harmful to an individual’s health, well-being or relationships. These behaviours can be things that individuals do repeatedly, often without realising it, and they can be difficult to break.

Breaking bad habits can be challenging, but it’s important to recognise their negative impact and take steps to change them. Strategies for breaking bad habits include setting goals, identifying triggers, seeking support from others and finding healthier alternatives.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • addiction (noun)
  • harmful (adjective)
  • compulsively (adverb)
  • repeatedly (adverb)
  • excessively (adverb)
  • give up (phrasal verb)
  • kick the habit (phrase)
  • cut back on (phrasal verb)
  • cold turkey (phrase)

Conversation Questions

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  • What bad habits do you have, and how do they affect your life?
  • Do you think bad habits have a stronger impact on an individual's physical health or mental health?
  • Do you think bad habits are easy or difficult to break? Why?
  • What are some strategies you use to break a bad habit?
  • Is it better to try to gradually reduce a bad habit or quit cold turkey?
  • Should schools be responsible for teaching students about the dangers of bad habits, or is this the parents' responsibility?
  • What role does stress play in developing bad habits?
  • What bad habits are common in your country or culture?
  • How do bad habits impact an individual's health and well-being?
  • Do you think bad habits are more prevalent in modern society than in the past? Why or why not?
  • Should governments regulate certain bad habits, such as smoking or drinking?
  • How can bad habits affect a person's relationships with others?
  • Is it ethical for companies to profit from promoting bad habits, such as junk food or cigarettes?
  • How do parents or teachers influence children's bad habits?
  • Is it better to focus on breaking bad habits or developing good habits?
  • What bad habits do you think are the most difficult to break? Why?
  • Should governments invest more in programs to help individuals break bad habits, or should it be the individual's responsibility?
  • Do you think it's important to talk openly about bad habits? Why or why not?
  • Is addiction a disease, or a result of poor choices and lack of willpower?
  • Can bad habits ever be positive or helpful? Give an example.
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.