What Is Love? — a Talking Points lesson for English reading and speaking

What Is Love blog cover

What Is Love?

This is the age-old question asked by poets, philosophers and great thinkers throughout history.

It is also a great topic for your English class!

Check out my great lesson plan below…

You can download the full lesson by clicking the link at the bottom of the page!


What is love?

Who do you love? Why do you love them?

Have you ever fallen in love?

What Is Love?

Read Alf’s story below.


I met my wife when I was nineteen.

I had just got back from doing my national service and I went into this little tea shop to get a cup of tea and there she was — right before my eyes.

I asked her if she wanted to come out with me and she said Where to? And I said, we could go to the pictures, and she just rolled her eyes at me.

But we did end up going out. And we were together for the rest of our lives.

Well, her life. I’m still here.

But there’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think of her. I think of her all the time.

Some people ask me if it was love at first sight. And to be honest, I don’t really know.

I can tell you I fell in love with Eileen very quickly. It didn’t take long.

I was living with my mum and dad, and Eileen lived with her family. So we used to spend a lot of the time going for walks.

Neither of us had much money, so we couldn’t just go out for dinner every night.

And then after about six months, I proposed to her.

I didn’t even get down on one knee!

We were walking in this little park and I asked her to sit down. She knew something was up straight away!

And I just asked her to marry me. And she said yes.

We told our respective families, and that was it. All done and dusted.

Along the way, we had our rows. Every couple does.

But I knew without any shadow of a doubt that I loved Eileen — and that she loved me.

Even when we had our biggest arguments, there always seemed a way to get through it.

You have to work at a relationship sometimes. And that requires a lot of talking. Proper communication between each other.

I can safely say that I have never loved anyone the way I have loved Eileen.

Everything about her made my world light up.

Now she’s gone. And I’m left here on my own.

I can tell you, when she died, I felt like I had lost both my arms and legs. I could barely move.

We were together for over sixty years. You get to know a person very well if you are with them for that long.

There were many times when we could be in the lounge together and not say a word to each other. We didn’t need to.

I knew what kind of things she was thinking about and she certainly knew what I was thinking about.

I don’t know how young people fall in love these days.

There seem to be so many expectations of each other.

When I asked Eileen to marry me, I didn’t have any money at all. Nothing!

But together, we had a family of our own and built our own lives.

If you find the right person, true love can help you get through anything.

Reading Comprehension Questions

Who is the person telling the story?

Who is he talking about in the story?

How old was Alf when he met his wife?

What had Alf just finished doing?

Where did he meet his wife?

What did he ask her?

How did she respond?

Is Eileen alive or not?

Does Alf think about her? How often?

When Alf met Eileen was it love at first sight?

Did it take a long time for Alf to fall in love with Eileen?

Where was Alf living at the time?

Where was Eileen living at the time?

What did they do when they went out together?

Did they have a lot of money?

How much time had passed before Alf asked Eileen to marry him?

Did he propose on one knee?

Where did Alf ask Eileen to marry him?

What did he ask her to do?

Did they tell their families?

Did Alf and his wife have arguments in their lives?

What methods does Alf talk about when trying to overcome difficulties in a marriage?

How did Alf feel when Eileen died?

How long were they together?

Did Eileen know what Alf was thinking all the time?

What does Alf say about younger couples who fall in love?

Essential Vocabulary

national service

to come out with me

to roll one’s eyes

love at first sight

to propose to sb


done and dusted



shadow of a doubt









Write down all the words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look in your dictionary and find the meaning of each word. Write the definition next to each word.

Then make up your own sentences using each word or phrase.

For example:

Notebooka small book with pages of blank paper that students use to make notes when studying.

I left my notebook at home so I was unable to make any notes in my English class.”

Discussion Questions

Do you believe in the idea of eternal romantic love?

Or are you more practical?

Explain your reasons and answers.

How do people fall in love?

Why do people fall in love?

Do you think falling in love has changed in the last fifty years? If so, how?

How is love different between family and friends?

How is love different between parents and their children, and a husband and wife?

Have you ever been in love? What was your experience of it?

Do people from different countries and cultures express love differently? What are the differences?

Do you believe in love at first sight? If so, why?

Have you experienced love at first sight?

What makes people fall out of love?

If a person is in love, how do they feel?

Can love last forever?

Does love have rules or conditions? If so, what are they?

Describe when Alf first met Eileen.

What do you think they talked about?

What do you think Alf thought of Eileen?

What did Eileen think of Alf?

What do you think of Alf and Eileen’s dating style?

Do young people also just go for walks together as a date these days?

Alf asked Eileen to marry him six months after meeting her. Do you think this is too soon?

How long should a couple know each other before getting married?

How do you think Alf feels after losing Eileen?

Do you think he can ever recover?

Do you think a couple can know what each other is thinking? How?

What do you think Alf means when he says that young people have too many expectations of each other?

All About Love

This is a class discussion.


Look at all the quotes about love below.

Take turns reading them out loud. Then try to explain what each quote means in your own words.


He is not a lover who does not love forever – Euripides


Pleasure of love lasts but a moment. Pain of love lasts a lifetime – Bette Davis


I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. Then I saw that you were not perfect and I loved you even more — Angelita Lim


A loving heart is the truest wisdom — Charles Dickens


Love isn’t something you find. Love is something that finds you — Loretta Young


One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving — Paulo Coelho


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud — Shakespeare


Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down — Oprah Winfrey


Who being loved, is poor? — Oscar Wilde


You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams — Dr. Seuss

Role Play

This is a role play activity.


There are two characters in this role play.


Friend 1

You have just discovered that you are in love with someone. You have been dating them for some time and you feel very happy.


Friend 2

Your friend has just told you that they are in love. You ask them lots of questions about their boyfriend or girlfriend to find out more about this person.


The Situation

You are two friends and you meet up in a coffee shop.

One friend has some important news…

They have met someone new in their life and they believe they have fallen in love with this person.

The second friend wants to know everything about this person…

  • How did you meet?
  • What does this person look like?
  • What job do they do?
  • And many other questions!


Divide into pairs and take some time to prepare your role play.

When you are ready, show the class!

What Is Love?

This is a class discussion activity.


Talk about the different kinds of love that you might have for the following people or things.

Try to describe the kind of love that a person — or you — has for each of the following people or things.

What Kind Of Love Do You Have For…

Your mother or father?

Your brother or sister?

Your best friend?

A boyfriend or girlfriend?

A husband or wife?

A lover?

Your pet dog or cat?

Your favourite food?

Your brand new sports shoes?

Your favourite song?

Your personal god or religious figure?

Your teacher?


This is a creative writing exercise.


You are going to write a love letter to someone.

In the love letter, you want to express how much you love this person and why you love them.

You want to tell them how your love for this person has changed your life.

Try to use poetic language. Or the kind of expressions that you might see in a love song.

Your love letter must be romantic!

Write your love letter.

When you have finished — and if you feel comfortable doing this — read your letter out loud in front of the class.

Ask your classmates and teacher for feedback.

Or you can hand it to your teacher for review.

You can download the full lesson plan by clicking the link below!

You can also join my mailing list by clicking the link below. I will send you new guides, articles and lesson plans when I publish them.

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