Sometimes there may be situations in which you or someone will ask about what is needed to complete a task or get something done. For example, your child may want to know what is needed in order to get a driver’s license or a colleague may ask about the documents needed to get a passport. Job applicants always need to know the specific requirements of a job before applying for it. There are several expressions that can be used when asking about needs and requirements. Look at these examples.


English Expressions



What do you need for a (…driver’s license?)   You need a birth certificate.
What is needed to get a (…visa to a foreign


  The first thing you need is a passport.
Do I need (…a bank guarantee card to cash a


What documents are required  (… before applying

for college)?

  You should have a copy of your high

school diploma or GED.

What are the requirements (…for the job)?   You need a B.S. in education.
Is it necessary to (…have immunization

documentation before entering the country)?

  Yes it is.

English Dialogue

Students should work together in pairs and read the following dialogue, one student reading one part, the other student reading the other. Note the expressions used in the dialogue and the progression of the conversation. The dialogue can be used as a model to have similar conversations.


Janice: Hi James, what’s new?

James: Nothing, same old, same old. What’s new with you?

Janice: A couple of my friends have decided to go camping this weekend.

James: That sounds like fun. I hope you have a good time.

Janice: Me too, except we’ve never been camping. We have no idea of what to take. Do you know?

James: First you will need a tent and a sleeping bag.

Janice: A tent? I only have a sleeping bag. Do I really need a tent?

James: No, if you don’t mind critters crawling on you at night and if it doesn’t rain. You can borrow mine if you


Janice: Thanks, I appreciate it. What else should I take?

James: You should probably take some warm clothes. It gets pretty chilly at night in the mountains. And you will

need pots and pans to cook with and dishes and silverware to eat with.

Janice: Okay, I think my mom will let me take some old dishes. Anything else?

James: It might be a good idea to take an ax or a saw to cut firewood with. And lots of matches to start fires

with. Also take a shovel to smother the fire. You wouldn’t want to start a forest fire.

Janice: That hadn’t occurred to me, thanks. Is that it?

James: You might consider a small first aid kit, with a large bottle of insect repellent. The mosquitoes can be

murder this time of year.

Janice: Is that all we need?

James: A portable toilet is always handy. It’s much more convenience than the nearest brush.

Janice: How much will that cost?

James: About $50.00. I happen to have one if you want to borrow that too.

Janis: Well, Okay… since you offered. By the way, would you like to come with us?

James: Who’s all going?

Janis: Just me and my three cheerleader friends.

James: You’re friends are cheerleaders? What time do we leave?


After reading, close your book and tell your partner a summary of the dialogue. Then switch and have your partner tell his or her summary. Start like this: This dialogue is about two people talking about what is needed …This may seem silly, since you both already know what the dialogue is about, but the purpose is to practice using your English, not to give information or test your reading skills.

Conversation Activities

1. Pair work- discussion

     What do you think you would need or like to take on a bicycle tour of Europe? Imagine that a group of four

friends are planning a 30 day road tour. Since money will be tight, you will have to camp out and not stay in



Everything you take must fit on a bicycle. Decide as a group what would be needed (or wanted) and who

would carry what items. Plan well to ensure that  the trip is memorable and that you have a great time. Don’t

forget the camera!

2. Group work- discussion

     Work in groups of three or four and discuss what items a person would need or the skills that may be needed

to do the following. Make your list as comprehensive as possible and provide justification for why those items

or skills are needed. Be prepared to orally present your items to the rest of the class. The teacher may ask

you to do so.


             1. Survive on a deserted island alone

             2. Take a journey to Mars with six other astronauts

             3. Go on safari in Africa

             4. Take a vacation to Disneyland

             5. Break out of prison

             6. Climb the Himalayas       

             7. Make a movie

             8. Make a successful business