Problems & Advice

In this intermediate-level ESL lesson, you will learn grammar, vocabulary, and phrases to talk about everyday English topics: an English conversation lesson to give advice to particular problems that people are having.

This ESL lesson also comes with a downloadable PDF you can access when you are a member of Pocket Passport.

This ESL video lesson for daily English will help ESL students learn vocabulary, grammar, improve listening and be confident English speakers.

Practical English for everyday situations.

Problems & Advice

ESL Questions on Problems & Advice


What makes a roommate easy or difficult to live with?


Are you good at saving money?


Do you create a weekly and monthly budget?


Do you think you are selfish or generous? Explain.


Have you ever had something stolen by someone you know?


Who is the best person to go to for advice?

Watch, Read or Listen

ESL Video on Problems & Advice

Watch the following ESL YouTube video lesson about problems & advice.

ESL Listening Practice

Watch the YouTube video and answer the following questions.


What kind of podcast does Dr. John host?


What’s Christian having trouble with?


What does Dr. John suggest?


What is Tracey’s problem?


What does Dr. John advise Tracey to do?


What does he recommend Cassie do?


What is Lando’s problem?


What is Dr. John’s advice for Lando?

ESL Speaking Activity

Use the illustrations to talk about the passage, problems, and advice.



Problems & Advice

Problems And Advice

Problems & Advice ESL

ESL Vocabulary to talk about problems and give advice

Word Bank

advice | amount | budget | clearly | label | ought
realize | regular | roommate | selfish | spend | steal
stick to | task | try | trouble | worry | once in a while


Match the words on the left with the meanings on the right.

1. steal (v)

A. a piece of work to be done

2. stick to (phr.v)

B. to take something without the permission of the owner

3. task (n)

C. caring only about what you want or need without any thought for others

4. budget (n)

D. become fully aware of something

5. realize (v)

E. from time to time; occasionally

6. trouble (n)

F. certainly; obviously; without a doubt

7. once in a while (phr)

G. to continue doing something especially when it is difficult to do so

8. selfish (adj)

H. paper or writing on something that gives information about what it is or who it belongs to

9. clearly (adv)

I. an amount of money available for spending

10. label (v)

J. difficulty or problems

ESL Discussion

Discuss the following quotes about problems and advice.

Talking About Money

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”

“Everyone has problems, but don’t lose your happiness just because you focus too much on your problems.”

“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”

“Life without problems is a school without lessons.”

“Running away from your problems is a race you’ll never win.”

“Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.”


What do you think about the following pieces of advice? Discuss.

Cut back from 1-hour meetings –  No one likes meetings, especially the longer ones. Focus on meetings to be 30 minutes max, it keeps things concise and efficient.

Walk like Steve Jobs – Steve loved to have important talks while walking. This keeps conversations more flexible and easier process for brainstorming if needed to be. Not to mention we could all use more exercise in our life.

Visualize your success – There are conducted studies that have shown that people who practice and visualize their success were more likely to reach it than people who just practiced. It helps with job interviews, relationships, and hobbies.

Listen more – You’ve probably heard this one a lot. Always seek to understand before having an opinion. You have two ears and one mouth. There’s a reason for that.

Limit your daily tasks – just stick with 3 tasks you want to achieve today.

Keep asking yourself ‘Do I really need to do this today?’

Set goals – Don’t expect to achieve anything if you don’t know what your end goal is supposed to be. Set destination, then set sail.

Celebrate all the successes – no matter how small, a win is a win, especially when we take losses harder than we should. Take advantage of it.

Ask yourself why more often – One of the best questions to understand this world and we don’t ask it enough. This will help find your path towards your happiness.

Play to your strengths – You’ll be good in certain aspects of life and terrible in others.

Find out what you’re good at and make it a priority in every situation you can.

In Your Own Words

Explain what the word or phrase in bold means and give an example.

Example: She was exhausted because she worked until midnight.
Meaning: very tired - I’m exhausted because I stayed up and studied all night.

Solving Problems


You really need to stick to the same routine, or you will never see any progress

Meaning /


Why don’t you try creating a budget?

Meaning /


He’s the most selfish person I’ve ever met.

Meaning /


He might not realize you feel that way.

Meaning /


His roommate was stealing his food from the fridge.

Meaning /

Missing Words

Watch the video or listen to the audio again and complete the sentences.

Problems & Advice ESL Lesson

Dr John hosts a ______________________ 1 in which he listens to callers’ problems and tries to give them good _____________ 2. Here are today’s problems and Dr John’s advice.

Christian called and told Dr John that he was having _______________ 3 at work because                his boss was giving him too many _______________ 4.

Dr. John’s advice: If I were you, I would try saying no ______________________ 5.

Tracy called and told Dr. John that she had trouble saving money and was worried she        would never be able to buy her own house.

Dr. John’s advice: Why don’t you try creating a _________________ 6 If you have a written amount of how much you can spend, it is easier to __________________ 7 it and save more!

Cassie called and told Dr. John that her boyfriend was very ___________________ 8 and never did anything to help her.

Dr. John’s advice: You ought to talk to him about your feelings. He might not ________________ 9 you feel that way.

Lando called and told Dr. John that his roommate was __________________ 10 his food from the fridge.

Dr. John’s advice: You could try putting your name on things so that it is clearly labeled as yours. If that doesn’t work, I recommend that you find a new roommate!


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