If you’re reading this blog, you probably know some basics of conversation. You may know the standard formal and informal greetings and how to introduce yourself. But it’s time to expand your conversation skills even more!
In this article, we’ll show why conversation is important. We’ll look at beginner, intermediate, and advanced phrases in different situations to help you get started.
Soon, you’ll be on your way to becoming an advanced conversationalist - a person who likes to engage in conversation and is good at it.
Why English Conversation?
Think about why conversation is useful.
The ultimate goal in learning a language is to communicate. If you want to advance your professional and personal goals, you must be able to converse with many people in different situations.
Conversation can open your mind to new cultures. When you listen and share, you exchange ideas and opinions, and this is an important part of any communication.
It could also be used to improve your communication skills. If you talk to people, you will build confidence in your pronunciation and grammar. You could expand your vocabulary at a faster rate.
Eventually, you’ll be able to engage with other individuals in any situation and speak on any topic. You may gain some lifelong friends and networking contacts along the way!
Learning English Conversation
So where do you start? A solid start with any communication begins with a greeting and introduction. Let’s break down the most common words and phrases.
Greetings and Introductions
Note: The last two informal greetings are questions you might say after greeting with ‘Hi’ or ‘Hey’. They’re often used as a rhetorical question (a phrase that looks like a question but is not supposed to be answered). Therefore, you won’t necessarily expect an answer or be expected to respond. This is usually because the relationship is close enough that you already know how they’re doing.
Formal Greetings - (These greetings work for any formal or informal situation).
If you have never met before, start by exchanging your names. Stick with formal language until you know the person you’re talking to better.
If you’ve met someone before but can’t remember their name (don’t worry, it happens), try to recall where you met the person and use this phrase:
If you’re with someone else, you’ll also want to introduce that person. You can use these phrases:
Native Level Tip
If you can’t remember the name of someone, wait for them to introduce themselves to someone else. After they exchange greetings, you’ll know the name and won’t have to ask for it directly.
Once you have introduced yourself, you can respond with one of the following phrases:
You can click here for a more in depth look at English greetings and introductions in conversation.
Once you’ve exchanged greetings and introductions, it’s common to move on to small talk. Small talk is a polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially in social settings.
How are you doing?
Typically, you’ll start by asking how a person is doing. You may or may not get an actual answer when you ask. If somebody asks you this question, you don’t have to answer honestly, too.
‘How are you doing?’ has become so ingrained in English speech that it’s usually mixed in the introduction. Here are some common phrases to use:
In response to ‘How are you doing?’, you can keep it short and simple. Then add ‘How are you?’ in return. Here are some examples:
Many times, this level of small talk is enough for the conversation.
Here is a video resource you can use to master responses to ‘How are you doing?’
If you continue with questions, it’ll bring your communication skills to a new level. Questions will let you exchange thoughts and ideas on a variety of topics. Conversations that go into this phase will help you master the language.
There are two types of questions you can ask:
When you ask and answer questions, pay close attention to what is being said.
Remember, most questions start with the five W’s. They are: who, what, when, where, and why (and how). You can use these words to enhance and propel forward any conversation.
Here is a great video resource to help you with asking questions in an English conversation.
Even native speakers have moments when they don’t understand someone. Sometimes they’re not sure about the topic or just didn’t hear the question. It’s always okay to ask for clarification if you didn’t understand something.
Here are some phrases you can use in that situation:
If you didn’t hear someone, use these phrases:
Again, it’s okay if you didn’t understand someone. People are willing to clarify or repeat something.
Closing an English Conversation
Now that you’ve spoken for a while and it’s time to move on, you will need to close the exchange. It’s always polite to let the other person know that you’re ready to finish talking. Here are a few phrases you can use in different situations:
After closing the conversation, you should end with some form of goodbye. Here are some examples:
Beyond that, you might have an extra ‘bye’ or ‘goodbye’, but it’s safe to say: you just had a conversation! They’re meant to be simple, polite exchanges, so don’t stress too much or overcomplicate the situation.
Here is a video resource showing how to politely end your conversations.
You can use the phrases in this article for dialogues in many settings. If you have time and feel curious, ask as many questions as you want and remember the five W’s.
Through conversation, you’ll improve your speaking skills and become a better English speaker. If you have the confidence to talk, it can be the greatest tool you have on your language learning journey.
If you need more resources click on the links below for advanced english conversation dialogues and more exercises!