Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Conversation Lesson: Agony Aunts

This is a conversation class based on the topic of agony aunts for advanced adult students (C1+) in which students learn some expressions and structures for giving advice. Here is the language handout and the situations for advice:

Agony Aunt + Agony Aunt Language

Start by trying to elicit what an agony aunt is. You could show the this link to the Sun’s Dear Deidre column (be warn it has some partial nudity)

Ask students if they have similar columns/websites in their country.

Tell students that they are going to become agony aunts for the class.

Give out the handout and go through the language Then cut up the agony aunt situations and have students take it in turns to read a situation as if it were their own. Other students then give advice on the situation.

Giving advice

Present:

You should/shouldn’t…

You ought to/ought not to…

You had better/had better not…

If I were in your shoes/position, I would…

I’ll tell you what, why don’t you…?

What you can do is…

I suggest/recommend that you + infinitive – to

I suggest/recommend + gerund

Have you tried + gerund?

It’s vital that you…

You simply have to…

Past:

You should/shouldn’t have + past participle.

You ought (not) to have + past participle.

Expressions

Woah! That’s a tough one.

That’s a delicate/tricky situation.

A minefield.

You have to tread carefully.

Be subtle/tactful/diplomatic.

Bring it up casually.

Who is in the wrong?

Don’t think twice about + gerund (definitely do it)

Don’t even think about + gerund (definitely don’t do it)

Put your foot down.

Don’t take any crap/bullshit.

You have to nip this problem in the bud.

I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

It’s just a storm in a teacup.

It’ll blow over.

Don’t make any hasty/rash decisions.

You have to face the problem head on.

Put yourself in his/her shoes.

What would you do if the shoe was on the other foot?

Don’t put up with it.

Stay strong.

Go with your gut instinct.

Agony Aunt – Situations

My partner has to go away on a business trip with his/her ex, they will be staying in the same hotel. He/she has assured me that /he/she has no feelings for the ex. My partner’s personal hygiene standards have slipped. My partner’s parents are always dropping hints about wedding bells and the pitter patter of tiny feet.
My best friend always flirts with my partner, I don’t want to make a big deal of it but it bothers me. My partner called out the wrong name during sex! My partner used to be really romantic but has stopped making the effort.
My partner told me he/she didn’t want anything for valentine’s day so I didn’t get him/her anything. He/she is now giving me the silent treatment. I’ve been with my partner for 5 months; I have to move out of my house because my landlord is selling it. My partner has invited me to move in with him/her but I’m not sure. Is it too soon? I don’t want to hurt his/her feelings. My partner doesn’t want to have kids and I’ve always said the same but now I’m starting to get broody.
My partner doesn’t help out around the house. He/she doesn’t cook, clean or help fix anything. I lent my partner €1000 and he/she hasn’t paid me back yet and he/she hasn’t brought it up for months. I get the feeling that my partner’s parents don’t approve of my line of work. I’m a professional musician. My partner used to go out with a lawyer.
My partner is still on good terms with all of his/her exes; he/she chats with them regularly on facebook. My best friend told me that my partner came on to him/her when he/she was really drunk. My partner’s mother won’t leave him/her alone. She insists on doing all his/her laundry and that they go out together, just the two of them, every Friday night. How do I make her back off?
I’ve fallen in love with my best friend but he/she isn’t interested. I’m 19 years old and my partner has just proposed to me. I love him/her but is this too big a step? I’m getting married in 2 weeks but I think my fiancé is getting cold feet about wedding. He/she goes really quiet when I start talking about it and he/she doesn’t seem to be sleeping much.
I’m single, I kissed a colleague at the work Christmas party and now he/she has asked me out on a date. My boss at work keeps giving me the eye and dropping hints about us going on a date. He’s invited me to a conference next weekend. I’ve just come out of a long-term relationship. I met a great guy/girl in a bar the other day. I told him/her that it was just a bit of fun but I think he/she is falling for me.
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Author:

Barcelona based English Teacher, blogger and sometime actor and director.

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