Small Talk Expressions Game

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In this entertaining ESL small talk activity, students must practice common responses which convey feelings and then create an example dialogue in pairs.

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Here’s a great ESL small talk activity to get students practising common responses which convey feelings. They then pair up and create an example dialogue, which they will perform to the class.


Divide students into pairs, giving each pair a set of the printed cards.

To start off, write some example statements on the board, which are intended to elicit the responses on the cards. For example:

  • I’m going to a party
  • My cat disappeared
  • This work is so hard
  • I just won the lottery
  • I need to lose weight

Students look at their cards and choose a suitable response for each example given. The pairs of students must use ten of their cards to create their own statement / response dialogue.

When everyone has finished writing their dialogues, each student should pick five statements and five responses from their dialogue of ten statements / responses. The pairs then practice reading them to each other until they can recite them from memory. The students then perform their dialogues to the class.

Finally, pairs of students join up to make groups of four. The students shuffle one set of the cards, placing them face down on the table. Students take it in turns to take a card and make a statement that will elicit the response on the card. The first student to reply using the same response as that on the card keeps that card. At the end of the game, the student with the most cards wins.