Pranks and Practical Jokes

woman playing a prank on man
Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on August 30, 2023

Discussing pranks and practical jokes is a great idea for intermediate English learners. It’s a fun conversation topic that makes discussions lively and interesting. When we talk about pranks, learners get to practice speaking about everyday life in English. They can share their own experiences, thoughts and opinions, which helps them become more fluent.

Additionally, this topic has cultural aspects to it. Learners can learn about humour and social norms in English-speaking countries. They also get the chance to pick up idiomatic expressions and slang words, which makes their English more natural and relatable.

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 Pranks and Practical Jokes?

Pranks and practical jokes are playful actions or tricks intended to amuse or surprise someone. They are often light-hearted and meant to create laughter or amusement. These can range from harmless pranks like placing a whoopee cushion on a chair to more elaborate jokes that involve careful planning.

For instance, one common prank involves pretending to spill a drink on someone, causing a momentary shock before revealing it was just a joke. Another example is the classic “fake bug” trick, where a realistic-looking insect is placed to surprise and then amuse the person who discovers it’s not real.

Pranks and practical jokes are a way of bonding with friends and family through shared laughter.

Useful Vocabulary

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

  • trick (noun)
  • joke (verb)
  • hilarious (adjective)
  • light-hearted (adjective)
  • sense of humour (phrase)
  • harmless (adjective)

10 Conversation Questions About Pranks and Practical Jokes

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  • Have you ever played a prank or a practical joke on someone? What did you do?
  • Have you ever watched prank videos online? What do you think of them?
  • Have you ever been the target of a practical joke? How did you react?
  • Are there any traditional pranks or practical jokes in your culture?
  • What's the funniest practical joke you've ever heard of or seen?
  • Do you think pranks are more common among friends or family members?
  • Have you ever regretted playing a practical joke on someone? What happened?
  • If someone played a practical joke on you that you didn't think was funny, what would you do?
  • Can practical jokes sometimes go too far? Can you give an example?
  • Do you know anyone who regularly plays practical jokes on people?
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.