Politics is a common topic that comes up in conversation. If you want to be an advanced or fluent English speaker, then you have to be able to speak about politics at least a little bit.
However, politics can include many different things. So, in this lesson, we will cover some basic questions and sentences that we can use when talking about politics.
1. We must remember that not everyone likes talking about politics. Many people prefer to avoid talking about politics. That is why many people ask permission before starting to talk about politics or before asking someone a political question. Here are some questions that you can use.
- Do you mind if I ask you a political question?
- Is it okay if we talk about politics?
- Is it okay if I ask you a political question?
- Do you mind if I ask you about politics?
- Do you mind if I ask you something political?
- Do you mind talking about politics?
- Can I ask you a political question?
- Can I ask you a personal question?
- Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?
2. Let's take a look at some sentences that show our basic political beliefs.
- I am a liberal.
- I am a conservative.
- I am a moderate. = I am a centrist.
We can also use these words as nouns.
- I am a liberal.
- I am a conservative.
- I am moderate.
We also use "the left" to mean liberal and "the right" to mean.
- I am on the right.
(=I am conservative. / I am a conservative.)
- She is on the left.
(=She is liberal. / She is a liberal.)
We can also show different degrees.
- She is very liberal.
- He is a little conservative.
We often use the verb "to lean" with "the left" and "the right" to show that we are a little liberal or a little conservative.
- I lean left on most issues.
(=She is a little liberal on most issues.)
- She leans right.
(=She is kind of conservative.)
3. We can use adverbs and other phrases to be more specific. These are more advanced sentences.
- I am socially liberal, but I am fiscally conservative.
- She is liberal when it comes to immigration, but she is conservative when it comes to economic policy.
- They lean right on foreign policy issues.
- She tends to be more liberal about domestic issues and more conservative about foreign policy issues.
4. We can use these questions to directly ask a person about their political beliefs and stance.
- Are you liberal?
- Are you liberal or conservative?
- You live in America. So, are you a democrat or a republican?
- Do you lean more left or right when it comes to politics?
- Do you belong to a political party?
- Are you politically active?
Here are some other questions that we can use to see how interested or involved a person is in politics.
- Do you follow politics?
- Are you interested in politics?
- Do you have any interest in politics?
- Do you follow the news closely?
- Do you vote?
- How interested are you in political issues?
5. Asking a person for their opinion about a political issue is the same as asking for their opinion about anything. We use the same questions.
- What do you think about our cities education system?
- What do you think about America's presence in the Middle East?
- What do you think about nuclear weapons?
- How do you feel about women in the military?
- Do you think that universal healthcare is a good idea?
- Do you think that raising taxes by 10% in order to provide every citizen with free healthcare is a good idea?
- Do you agree that the president has done a good job?
- Don't you think that taxes are too high?
Likewise, giving an opinion about politics is the same as giving an opinion about anything. We use the same basic sentences.
- I think that taxes are too high.
- I believe that raising taxes in order to provide free health care is a mistake. It will only bankrupt our country.
- I feel that our local government is not spending enough money on education.
- In my opinion, the government should spend less money on the military and more money on education.
- As far as I am concerned, the islands that you are referring to belong to my country.
- If I am being honest, I think that the government only talks about fighting climate change. They do not actually do anything about it.
6. It is also good to know some basic questions to ask people from different countries about the political system or situation in their home country.
- Can you tell me about politics in your country?
- What is the political situation like in your country?
- How involved are people in politics where you are from?
- What is the biggest political issue in your country right now?
- How do people in your country feel about military spending?
- When is the next election in your country?
- What kind of government does your country have?
- Who is the leader of your country?
- Is your country more conservative or liberal?
7. The words "liberal", "conservative", and "moderate" are great words to know because we can use them anytime.
Each country has its own unique government and political parties. For example, in America, there are democrats and republicans. Democrats are liberal. Republicans are conservative.
But it is hard to remember the names of these different groups for every country. Luckily, we do not need to because we can just use the word "liberal" and "conservative". If you spend a lot of time in a country, then I would recommend learning the political system, but for basic conversations "liberal" and "conservative" are enough.
8. Politics can be a sensitive issue and sometimes it is better to avoid speaking about politics. Many American families have a rule that says, "No politics at the dinner table." This means that nobody is allowed to speak about politics while eating. It just causes too many problems and arguments.
However, having a friendly and civil discussion about politics can be very interesting. Do not be afraid to have a political discussion with someone in English as long as you are both willing and capable of remaining calm and polite. Conclusion
This lesson just covered some basic sentences and questions that you can use. If you want to learn more, then you will have to look at each political topic or issue separately. Read newspaper articles, watch the news, or listen to podcasts to hear what people are talking about. While you do this, pay attention to what words and expressions they use. The same words and expressions are repeated a lot for each issue. Use this lesson to help you take your English skills to the next level. There are certain situations when the language that you learned in this English lesson can be very useful. Try to use one of these phrases or expressions the next time you speak English.