How to spot a liar

Lesson plan overview

This ESL worksheet explores the topic of lying: why people lie and how to spot a liar. Students learn relevant vocabulary and phrasal verbs, watch a video and have plenty of opportunities to speak about the topic.

Vocabulary: the worksheet starts with an initial discussion which reinforces the vocabulary from the pre-class video. Students answer a few questions and practise relevant phrases (pull a sickie, a white lie, harmless). Then students learn phrasal verbs related to lying (get away with, give you away, fall for, look out for) by matching the 2 halves of a sentence. The next vocabulary activity pre-teaches words from the video (cue, debunk, misconception). The vocabulary part of the lesson concludes with a practice activity: students complete the questions given with words and expressions from the lesson and then discuss the questions in pairs or small groups.

Listening: In a pre-listening discussion students talk about the tell-tale signs of someone lying. After that they watch a video “How to spot a liar”  and complete a multiple-choice exercise and a note-taking exercise. In a post -viewing discussion, students share their opinions about the video and other related questions.

Functional language and speaking practice: Students learn different ways to say “I don’t believe you” and then role-play 4 different situations in order to practise the target vocabulary.

Homework: 3 research topics are suggested which aim to develop the topic further. The topics, combined with the additional resources provided on provide plenty of extra opportunities for contact with topic-related vocabulary in order to reinforce and enrich it

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

1.on average   2.ignored   3.attacked   4.society   5.scheme   6.triggered

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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