'Prefer' Questions for ESL Students

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Talking about preference can be a great way for ESL students to talk about themselves and learn about others. The questions in this lesson will really get your students asking and answering 'prefer' questions.

Why Talk About Preference?

If you are trying to get your ESL students to communicate more openly and creatively about themselves, you might consider having them talk about preference. When students ask and answer 'prefer' questions, they have to describe what they like and do not like, and you should always encourage them to talk about why. Discussions about preference can be wonderful because they ask students to use a whole range of vocabulary and can address a wide variety of topics. Asking and answering 'prefer' questions gets your students ready to participate in a variety of conversational tasks that they are likely to encounter in their daily lives and experience.

As your students work with the questions in this lesson and others like them, they will also get to know themselves and one another better and learn how to communicate about their identities using the English language. You can ask these questions to your students or give them the opportunity to pose these questions to one another. Some students might even adopt the structure and add questions of their own to the list.

'Prefer' Questions

Questions About Food and Cooking

  • Do you prefer sweet food or salty food?
  • Do you prefer to cook or eat?
  • Do you prefer breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
  • Do you prefer meat or vegetables?
  • Do you prefer fruit or vegetables?
  • Do you prefer Chinese food or Japanese food?
  • Do you prefer eating indoors or outdoors?
  • Do you prefer cooking using recipes or cooking without recipes?
  • Do you prefer cooking by yourself or cooking with someone else?
  • Do you prefer to eat a lot or a little?

Questions About Hobbies and Free Time

  • Do you prefer swimming or bicycling?
  • Do you prefer to spend time inside or outside?
  • Do you prefer gardening or building?
  • Do you prefer playing games or reading books?
  • Do you prefer reading books or watching movies?
  • Do you prefer board games or computer games?
  • Do you prefer reading or writing?
  • Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?
  • Do you prefer spending time alone or spending time with others?
  • Do you prefer quiet time or noisy time?
  • Do you prefer to work and play with music off or with music on?
  • Do you prefer loud music or quiet music?
  • Do you prefer fast music or slow music?
  • Do you prefer piano or guitar?

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