A list of ChatGPT prompts and example responses that are designed to help understand, explore, and become familiar with the platform — especially in an academic setting.
All the links below will take you to a ChatGPT conversation. If you have an account with Open AI you can continue the conversation in each case.
The link after each prompt takes you to a ChatGPT session where you can dive straight into using the prompt. The example in each case will take you to a conversation that uses the prompt.
All of these examples work best when using ChatGPT in GPT4 mode.
1. A first conversation with ChatGPT
One of the easiest ways to become familiar with ChatGPT is by using it. This prompt starts a conversation between you and ChatGPT that will help you develop your familiarity and comfort levels:
Hi ChatGPT. I’m new here and and am unsure of what to do, what you are, how to use you, or what your limitations are. Could you have a conversation with me and ask me questions (one at a time) that help me to become more familiar with you? If we could start slowly, that would be great. [Link]
ChatGPT is adept at brainstorming if you are stuck with where to go with a task or project, or are looking for inspiration. For instance, the following prompt template generates three brainstorming ideas within a specified domain:
Please generate three creative ideas in the area of [area] that will help kickstart a brainstorming session on a new project.
Please don’t start until I provide you with an area to focus on
3. Socratic Dialogue
One intriguing approach to brainstorming with ChatGPT – and something that has other applications as well – is to ask ChatGPT to take on a specific persona and enter into a Socratic dialogue with you. The persona may be descriptive (e.g. a physicist who is interested in philosophy) or a real person (like Marie Curie or Octavia Butler). It may even be an amalgam of people.
For instance, try this prompt template:
From now on, please respond as if you are [persona]. Start a Socratic dialogue with me about [topic]
Please don’t start until I provide you with a persona and topic
4. Summarizing text and ideas
ChatGPT is extremely good at summarizing text. It can either intuitively work out how you would like input summarized, or it will respond to specific constraints.
It can also summarize rough notes – which is great where you would like a polished summary of crude notes you’ve taken on a subject.
For example, try this template:
Please summarize [text] in less that [word limit] at a level that a [target audience] would understand.
Please don’t start until I have provided the information in square brackets
5. Inferring from text
ChatGPT is able to infer quite a bit from inputted text. For instance, you might ask it to infer the biases of the writer, or their worldview (and even philosophy), or the main topics and themes of a piece of writing, or the intent of the author. There are a lot of things you could add to this list.
Hi ChatGPT. I’m going to give you a piece of writing. I’d like you to infer the following from it, to the best of your ability and summarize each in your response
Worldview: The worldview of the author
Philosophy: The philosophical leanings of the author
Intent: What the author is trying to convey
Please don’t start until I provide the text
6. Producing brochures, marketing material and other forms of formal writing
ChatGPT does a very good job of taking information and transforming it into material that can be used for marketing, brochures, or web pages.
For example, try this prompt template with technical product details from a website like Amazon, Ikea, or even an existing informational website:
Please translate [details] into a short description that will be clear and compelling to [audience] browsing a website
Please don’t start until I provide you with the details and the audience
7. Asking ChatGPT for different output formats
Although ChatGPT output is usually text (although it will produce images if asked), you can ask for this to be formatted in different ways, including:
- Plain Text
- Question and Answer
- Bulleted or Numbered Lists
- Script/screenplay format
- Poetry or song lyrics
- HTML (if you are building a website for example
- LaTeX Code (for formatting documents using LaTeX)
This is not an exhaustive list of output formats.
Identify five emotions, and for each list five popular songs that capture them.
Please don’t start until I’ve told you what format to present your results in
ChatGPT’s translation capabilities are impressive. You can cut and paste text from multiple languages and ask it to translate into other languages, or ask it to provide responses in different languages. Unlike many automatic translators, ChatGPT output does a good job of capturing the sense and meaning of the text.
Here’s an example prompt:
Hi ChatGPT. Could you please translate [text] into [language].
Please don’t start until I’ve provided you with the text and language
[Link to prompt]
You can also ask ChatGPT to clarify text that isn’t clear, either because it is in a dialect or because it is very poorly written.
For instance, this is a passage from Iain M. Banks’ book Feersum Endjinn which includes a character that speaks phonetically:
Woak up. Got dresd. Had brekfast. Spoke wif Ergates thi ant who sed itz juss been wurk wurk wurk 4 u lately master Bascule, Y dont u ½ a holiday? & I agreed & that woz how we decided we otter go 2 c Mr Zoliparia in thi I-ball ov thi gargoyle Rosbrith.
I fot Id bettir clear it wif thi relevint oforities furst & hens avoyd any truble (like happind thi lastime) so I went 2 c mentor Scalopin.
Certinly yung Bascule, he sez, i do beleave this is a day ov relativly lite dooties 4 u u may take it off. ½ u made yoor mattins calls?
O yes, I sed, which woznt stricktly tru, in fact which woz pretti strikly untru, trufe btold, but I cude always do them while we woz travelin.
Wots in that thare box yoor holdin? he asks.
Itz a ant, I sez, waven thi box @ his face.
ChatGPT can produce a clear translation of this, even though it has never been exposed to this particular form of speech – that’s impressive! https://chat.openai.com/share/069b62ff-68f3-49a8-bcd6-94aeb36a26a3
9. Project development
Whether you are developing a new business or marketing plan, writing a grant proposal, developing a new project, or even mapping out a dissertation, ChatGPT has the ability to help with the process.
There are many prompt structures that can be used here, but this is just one for developing a new idea for a research proposal:
Hi ChatGPT. Please develop three possible research questions/objectives in an area that I specify, together with draft text for a justification and research proposal summary for each.
Please don’t start until I specify an area
This example just touches the surface of what ChatGPT is capable of as a brainstorming/ideation platform. Following the example above, you can ask ChatGPT to explore possible methods, research plans, output plans, and broader impact statements. Here’s an extended example of the one above demonstrating this:
10. ChatGPT as a personal tutor
The following prompt is an example of how ChatGPT can act as a personal tutor for exploring a new topic. This comes with a substantial caution that ChatGPT is an unreliable narrator, and therefore everything it says should be treated with caution. However, part of the process associated with this prompt is learning how to question and challenge ChatGPT.
In the form below, the prompt can be used by students as part of an exercise — ask them to copy the link to the conversation and paste into the assignment so you can see their full conversation:
Hi ChatGPT. My name is [full name] and I would like you to act as my personal tutor and teach me about [topic]. I would like you to cover the field broadly. Please start by asking me a question that helps you gauge my level of understanding. Based on my response, ask me a follow-up question that is designed to increase my understanding. Continue to do this until I show a broad understanding of the topic.”
Please don’t start until I tell you my name and the topic I’m interested in
11. Using ChatGPT to create and administer assignments
The following prompt is an intruguing way to use ChatGPT to both test and extend a student’s understanding in a particular area. It comes with a very significant caveat that the intent of this exercise is not to rely on ChatGPT’s assessemnt of understanding, but to use this as a vehicle for helping students test and extend their own understanding. When I use it, I don’t rely on ChatGPT’s grade, but this does provide students with feedback that can motivate them further — especially if they feel compelled to redo the assignment to improve the ChatGPT assessment:
Hi ChatGPT. My name is [full name] and I am in a class where we are learning about [topic]. Please ask me five questions about this topic. After each question, please wait for my answer before asking the next one. When you have all five of my answers, please provide feedback on and an assessment of how good they are, and give me a grade from A to C.
Please don’t start until I tell you my name and the topic I’m interested in
This approach to learning allows students to both ask ChatGPT for help and instruction mid-quiz, and ask for further feedback on what they could have done better. Here’s an extended example: