Expressing Regrets

Do your students need to practice expressing regrets?

Caring for the ElderlyA recent article in the the guardian featured the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. According to a palliative care nurse in Australia, people on their death beds typically wish they hadn’t worked so hard.┬áDo you enjoy using authentic materials in the classroom? Do your students need to practice expressing regrets? Share the article with your students. You can paraphrase the intro for them and just focus on the list of regrets. Here are a few questions to get your students talking after reviewing the regrets.

  • What is palliative care?
  • What are the top five regrets of the dying? (Dying people often wish that…)
  • What does the ┬álist say about unfulfilled dreams?
  • What does the list say about suppressing feelings?
  • What do the dying say about silliness?
  • What are your greatest regrets from your childhood (or teenage years)?

“All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.” Bronnie Ware, Palliative Nurse

Discussion question: What do the dying men mean by a “treadmill of a work existence”?

Teach your students different ways of expressing regret:

  • I wish I had…
  • I wish I hadn’t…
  • If only I had…
  • If only I hadn’t…
  • I regret …
  • I’ll always regret
  • One of my biggest regrets is …
  • I missed out on …

Related Lessons in the ESL-Library

Retirement Party (Warmup)
Third Conditional (Grammar Practice Worksheets)
Past Perfect (Grammar Practice Worksheets)
Happiness (Health Matters)
Centenarians (Health Matters)
Dr. Death (Jack Kevorkian) (Famous People)
Retirement Savings (Discussion Starters)
Caring for the Elderly (Mini-Debates)
Cancer (Health Matters)

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    Elena Piemonte says:

    Apr 22, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Thank you Tara! This is great material for my lessons. I wish I had seen this before! :)


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