Taboo conversation topics


When you fill in a form, are you happy to give this information:
Your age? Your marital status? Your income?
Are there any other questions you don't like answering?


Read through the four conversations below. Who are the people and what is the situation?
Conversation 1

A: Your blood pressureis absolutely fine. Have you been eating normally?
B: Oh yes. The same as normal.
A: And do you take any regular exercise?
B: Yes, I play squash twice a week.
A: Mm. Tell me, how much do you weigh?
B: About 68 kilos.

Gonversation 2

A: Hello, I'm Jean Walker. 'We've just moved in next door.
B: Paul Burton. Pleased to meet you. Do you work locally?
A: Yes, I'm a solicitor with a firm on the HighStreet.
B: A solicitor. That's a good job. How much do you earn ?

Conversation 3

A: Hello. I'rn looking for a white tennis shirt.
B: OK. Tennis shirts are over here.
A: As you can see, I'll need a fairly large size.
B: Yes, I can see that. How much do you weigh, if you don't mind me asking?


1.In each dialogue there is a personal question. Decide if the question is appropriate to the situation and the speakers. lf it is not appropriate, why isn't it?
2. Have you ever been asked an inappropriate question? When and who by? How did you respond? Have you ever asked an inappropriate question by accident? What happened?
3. You open the door and see a woman who says "Good morning. I'd like to talk to you about the Bible." What's your usual reaction?


Look at the questions below. Decide who has the right to ask you these questions. lt may be a particular person, for example,a doctor, a priest, a police officer, a partner/lover.
lt might be anybody or it might be nobody.
How old are you? Have you ever taken drugs?
How much do you weigh? Are you planning to start a family?
How tall are you? Who did you vote for at the last election?
How much do you earn? Have you got a criminal record?
Have you got a boy/girlfriend? Are you gay?
Are you a virgin? How much was your CD-player?
Are you married? What religion are you?
When did your parents die? How do you feel about abortion?
Could you say these things to your best friend?
Your breath is terrible. I think you've had enough to drink.
You smell nice. What is it? You look silly in that shirt.
You need a haircut.
Your boy/girlfriend's got nice legs. If you want to smoke, do it outside.
I wish you'd learn how to make coffee. Your fly is undone.
Could you say the same things to your teacher or your boss?
Do you have a friend you can say anything to?
Are you a tactful person or are you more blunt and direct?


  1. "Are you married?" and "If you want to smoke, do it outside." are tabbo?

  2. Some people can get steamed-up by that. In fact 8 out of ten female students said they wouldn't be comfortable with the question "Are you married?" asked by some native speaker in their first conversation. They added they'd rather say it to them themselves (and I guess for some particular reason ;) )
    As for the second "suggestion", it sounds a bit rude. Don't you find?

  3. That's very useful information. A couple of days ago one of my friends had an interview at some English school and her teacher-to-be asked her all kinds of those questions (Are you married? Who do you live with? etc). Poor girl got lot and answered the truth instead of saying that it was none of his business. So it's better to be prepared neither to ask no answer such questions))

  4. Than
    I like the way you dealt with them in this post on your site
    here ;)