a wooden statue of pinocchio lying with a long nose
Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on March 27, 2023 and last updated on May 14, 2023

The topic of lying is a great conversation topic for English learners because it allows them to practice a wide range of language skills while exploring a fascinating and universal human behaviour.

Through discussing lying, learners can practice using vocabulary related to honesty and deception, explore different cultural attitudes towards lying, practice using verb tenses to describe past lies or hypothetical situations, and develop critical thinking skills by examining the ethical implications of lying.

Additionally, exploring this topic can lead to interesting and engaging conversations about personal experiences and beliefs, making it a great way to practice conversational English.

About Lying

Lying is a complex behaviour that has fascinated humans for centuries. People lie for a variety of reasons, such as to avoid punishment, gain an advantage, protect their self-image or spare someone’s feelings.

Some common types of lies include white lies, which are small lies told to be polite or avoid hurting someone’s feelings, and pathological lies, which are compulsive and habitual lies that may stem from a mental disorder.

While lying can sometimes seem harmless, it can also have serious consequences, damaging trust and relationships. Understanding the motivations behind lying and the different types of lies can help individuals navigate these complex social situations with greater clarity and compassion.

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.

Useful Vocabulary

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

  • white lie (noun)
  • dishonest (adjective)
  • cheat (verb)
  • lie (verb)
  • deceitful (adjective)
  • liar (noun)
  • fib (verb)
  • deny (verb)

Conversation Questions

My Image
  • Do you think lying is always wrong, or are there situations where it can be justified?
  • Is it ever ethical to lie in order to protect someone's feelings?
  • How do you feel when you catch someone in a lie?
  • Do you think lying is more common in certain professions or industries?
  • Have you ever been lied to by someone you trusted? How did you react?
  • Is it okay for journalists to lie in order to uncover a bigger story?
  • How do you think technology and social media have changed the way we think about lying?
  • What are some ways you can rebuild trust after someone has lied to you?
  • Is it ever acceptable for law enforcement officials to lie during an investigation?
  • Should compulsive lying be considered a mental disorder?
  • What should happen to politicians who lie to the public?
  • What should happen to athletes who lie about using performance-enhancing drugs?
  • What should happen to students who cheat on exams or plagiarise?
  • What should happen to job applicants who lie on their resume?
  • What should happen to journalists who fabricate stories?
  • What should happen to doctors who lie to their patients?
  • What should happen to witnesses who lie in court?
  • What should happen to people who lie on social media to gain attention or followers?
  • What should happen to people who lie on their tax return?
  • What should happen to individuals who lie on immigration or visa applications?
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.